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Down Cancels European Tour Following Backlash Over Phil Anselmo's Nazi Salute

Miikka Skaffari/FilmMagic
Phil Anselmo of Superjoint performs at City National Civic on Oct. 29, 2015 in San Jose, California. 

Down has canceled its European summer tour, following backlash over lead singer Phil Anselmo's Nazi salute and yelling "white power" onstage at an American concert earlier this year. 

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While Anselmo has received widespread criticism within America over his actions, which he has described as an inside joke about drinking white wine, there has been pressure overseas as well. Last month Down was dropped from the Dutch music festival FortaRock. More recently, western French festival Hellfest in Clisson came under fire for refusing to cancel Down's appearance with a regional government cutting off about 20,000 euros of funding. Now Anselmo is calling the whole thing off. 

In an open letter written last week, Anselmo thanks Hellfest's director Ben Barbaud for plublicly standing by him but said it's not the right time to tour. 

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"My AWFUL mistake has taken a toll on my reputation, and justly so! However I must point out, you damned well KNOW ME better than this drunken incident could ever describe," he wrote. "So, my brother, it fucking rips my heart into further pieces to let you know, I don't think I should do ANY Euro festivals this year."

Anselmo also said has been suffering from a recurring knee injury that will need rehabilitation and asked that Hellfest have him back next year after he takes this time to "get my brain clear."

The AFP confirmed the letter's authenticity with Down's management and that the band would not tour Europe, without further comment.