SLAYER guitarist Kerry King has issued a personal statement in response to the controversy that arose when a photoshopped picture of Donald Trump and the members of the band appeared on their Instagram account. SLAYER frontman Tom Araya posted the image and later criticized fans who objected to the photo, saying that he "thought it was funny" and that anyone who disagrees should keep quiet. "I never would have guessed that there where so many snowflakes commenting their distaste for the new president," he wrote. "Like him or not he is the president."
A SLAYER band representative told Rolling Stone that Tom took it upon himself to post the photo and stressed that the image was "not something the band would have posted if asked," insisting that such a picture "does not belong on a SLAYER social page." The representative added: "We all have our personal opinions, some of which we have voiced in the past, but SLAYER has never endorsed any political party or any candidate, and the band intends to keep it that way."
The same image first appeared on the official SLAYER Instagram account on inauguration day, but was mysteriously removed before being reposted on Tuesday.
"Believe it or not, this picture was posted by me Tom Araya on 1/20 'cause I thought it was funny," the SLAYER frontman wrote. "I was amazed at the comments about the picture some positive some negative more amazing was in two hours there was 10,000 likes ... But I never would have guessed that there [were] so many snowflakes commenting their distaste for the new president. Like him or not he is the president ... Woke up the next morning and found someone had deleted the post ... Can someone please explain why...?"
In response to the ongoing controversy, King decided to release a statement of his own via his wife's Instagram account. He wrote Thursday night: "Ahhh, the election... This one has definitely been the most divisive and polarizing event I have ever experienced.
"My thoughts on the last few days are simple. To me, social media has more benefits than detriments. There is a gigantic upside to band social media, but band social media is just that. Not for everyone's personal tastes. And by that, I mean that I'd rather talk face-to-face with you so that there is no misunderstanding about what either of us are saying. That's why I don't post on personal OR band social media. With social media, there's too much room for misinterpretation, and we all just had a giant taste of that.
"Joke or not, my opinion is that our war of words should be with people who don't believe what SLAYER is about. NOT with our own fan base.
"Make no mistake; this is NOT a Kerry vs. Tom thing. Tom is my bro — PERIOD. Difference of opinion about the photo? Absolutely. End of the world? Not hardly. I LOVE the relationship that SLAYER has with our fan base. Best in the world by far! Let's just concentrate on Slaying our COLLECTIVE enemies."
King last year told Rolling Stone that Hillary Clinton was "the safe, correct choice" for president of the United States. He explained at the time: "Trump is just a sideshow. I'm not even going to apologize to all the Trump followers. I think the reason he's so popular is because he's like the politics version of WWE. He's sensational like wrestling and that's why middle America loves him. He's the biggest liar I've ever seen in politics. I mean, most of them are liars, but he just outright in-your-face lies."
King's words were echoed by his SLAYER bandmate Gary Holt who described Donald Trump as a "serial liar" who refused to disavow former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard David Duke. He said: "People might think some of the things he says, but you can't have a president calling Rosie O'Donnell a 'fat bitch.' [Laughs] It's, like, dude, do you even hear yourself? He won't even condemn David Duke's support. He pretended he doesn't know who he is. I'm a fucking headbanger who's done more drugs before getting sober than most people have ever seen on TV, and I've been drinking since I was 17, although in recent years much less, and I know who the fuck he is. Donald Trump is running for president and he [doesn't] know who the former grandmaster of the KKK is. That was your moment, Donald Trump, to say… you know, to condemn the man, basically, but you pretended you were just ignorant of who he was, 'cause you don't wanna fuck with that vote. There are some fucking hillbillies out there who you want voting for you."
Holt went on to say that he is "in many ways a Republican" but that he hasn't been able to find "a candidate up there who wasn't walked around on a leash by the Christian evangelicals, because they're the death of the conservative movement anyway. And if they just stay out of women's wombs and just actually concentrate on running a country and not being beholden to those people, I would vote Republican in a second."
SLAYER will hit the road in South America and Europe this spring before returning for more dates in the U.S. this summer.