It hasn't been the best year for Phil Anselmo's public image. After controversial footage surfaced of Phil Anselmo giving the Nazi salute and shouting "White Power" surfaced, Anselmo offered apology after apology about how what he did was very wrong and how he will try to grow as a person to prove he is not a racist.
At the time, we pointed out that it was a bit surprising, because a few months before that, he had an interesting viewpoint on Pantera's history of using the confederate flag in their imagery:
Right now in my life as a grown up man and a soon to be 47 year old in 5 days… that any type of propagating hate toward any race or any group of people is not my bag at all.
Pantera is about to release a photo book called A Vulgar Display of Pantera and in doing an interview promoting the book with Rolling Stone, Phil, along with Pantera bassist Rex Brown chimed in on their initial use of the confederate flag. Phil brought up the topic first:
Well, for one, I've always said, "Flags don't mean a damn thing to me." Two, by using the Confederate flag, despite what anyone says – and I don't give a shit, because no matter what I say, I'm damned if I do, damned if I don't – but the truth of it all is, it was about as innocent as innocent could be. We weren't confessing to any clandestine power of structure or however you assholes wanna put it these days. I think we used the Confederate flag merely because of Lynyrd Skynyrd. We had learned from people before us. And it was never about anything other than that.
The Confederate flag is on the back cover of [1996's] The Great Southern Trendkill. That was the "Southern" part of it. There were still states that had that on their state flags. Nowadays it's forbidden to use it. It's not so politically correct. But it had nothing to do with racism. None of us were like that. It was just a tie-in to the artwork on the back cover. Even back then, I said, "This is not the way to go." Lynyrd Skynyrd used one for years and still do. Now people confuse it with racism and hatred. That's not what this band is about at all; quite the opposite. But it's the only thing I would say in the P.C. days that I have any regrets about.
Then, of course, Phil takes a little pot-shot at the media:
Of course they wanted that little buzz shot at the very end, and I hope you're still recording me. I know what you're doing, media. I do. I know what you're doing. And I hope you get a whole lot of clicks out of it. I really do. There's your headline. Thank you.
No, thank you Phil for acknowledging a subject you clearly realize is touchy enough that websites will pick up on it, and offer you some publicity for your new book.
I don't have much to add in the way of editorializing here, because either way my point will be misconstrued by commenters, so instead, I felt it best to just present the facts and let you make up your own mind here.