Amid the controversy surrounding the controversial actions of Philip Anselmo at Dimebash 2016 where he screamed "white power" and gave a Nazi salute, Down have been stricken from the Fortarock festival and also had a hometown gig canceled. However, the band was still slated to play France's Hellfest despite the country's government withdrawing its funding for the festival last month following Anselmo's incident. Now, Anselmo has written a letter to Hellfest organizer Ben Barbaud, detailing his reasons for Down pulling out of the fest, suggesting the group will do the same for all booked European festival dates.

Following the withdrawal of French government funding, Barbaud refused to remove Down from the lineup, telling them, in short, "keep your grant." In his letter, Anselmo thanks Barbaud for defending him, though not his actions, and for "fighting the good fight." The entire letter, which was posted on Hellfest's Facebook page can be read in full below:

“Dearest Ben-

Philip H. Anselmo here Brother…

First, and foremost, there is NO WAY I can possibly thank you enough for “fighting the good fight” for me, and ALL of my bands, namely Down in this instance. Your love & backbone will never be forgotten, and from this point on through the rest of my fighting life, I owe you every ounce of praise!
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.
Hellfest is my heart!!!
And my embarrassment is tremendous, because I only have LOVE for people all over this skirmishing earth.
So my brother, it f--king rips my heart into further pieces to let you know, I don’t think I should do ANY Euro festivals this year.
So PLEASE I BEG YOU, give me this time to get my brain clear, and to come back (if you will have me back) next year my brother, I implore you!
Plus, the re-emergence of the knee injuries have been plaguing me of late as well, so I must address this too, through physical rehabilitation & rest.
Knowing my character, when I put my mind to something THIS DIRE, I come back 100-times better, and THAT’S what the Mighty Hellfest deserves!!!
My love for you & the rest of the gang that makes Hellfest THE TOPS, goes on and on and on…

Much love & respect-

Philip H. Anselmo (and the H. stands for HEALING)”

Puscifer have been announced as Down's replacement at Hellfest. Down also have an appearance slated for Download festival in June, but there has been no confirmation as of yet that Down will also remove themselves from the fest.

Since the incident Dimebash 2016 in late January, Anselmo has come under fire from fans and fellow musicians. The singer has been apologetic, though understanding of where his actions have landed him.

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