Ex-Pantera singer's NZ gigs axed over past 'white power' comments

CHRISTCHURCH: Two New Zealand performances by the former frontman of US metal band Pantera have been cancelled in the wake of the Christchurch massacre over his past comments about white supremacy.

Phil Anselmo sparked outrage in 2016 when he gave a Nazi salute and yelled "White Power!" during a high-profile concert in Los Angeles.

He was scheduled to perform with his band The Illegals on March 26 in Christchurch and in Auckland the next day, less than two weeks after 50 people were gunned down at two mosques allegedly by a white supremacist.

"New Zealand suffered a terrible hate crime... just five days ago," show promoter Valhalla Touring said on Wednesday.

"There was nothing positive to come from the tour as people are still grieving and it's just inappropriate and lacking respect to hold these shows so soon."

The 2016 comments, for which Anselmo initially refused to apologise, unleashed a wave of condemnation, accusations of racism and cancellations of performances that year by Down, his band at the time.

Anselmo later apologised, calling his comments an "awful mistake". He was the frontman of Pantera, formed in the early 1980s, which rose to become one of the most influential metal bands of the next decade. - AFP