We’ll cut right to the chase here and address the headline: in an interview with a Chilean radio station, Slayer’s Tom Araya says the following:
“That’s what America has become. It’s become a bunch of people that… because they didn’t get their way, they’re mad. I shared a picture that I thought was funny. They can’t even joke. They can’t even laugh at themselves. They can’t even have fun. And that just is amazing that it’s come to that. We’re a nation of crybabies. [Laughs]”
Controversial, right? Maybe not so much, because he’s referring to an incident that happened earlier this year. Araya put up a photoshopped picture on the band’s Instagram account of an old picture of them and Donald Trump throwing horns because he thought it was funny. After igniting a firestorm, the band took it down, then Araya put it back up, throwing out “snowflakes’ and making a dumb comment about Michael Pence, who believes in electroshock gay conversion therapy “turning fruits into vegetables.” The rest of the band distanced themselves from the post, his daughter defended him, and after more people complaining about it for a whole week, the whole thing finally died down. However, Araya said he made the post in the first place to get people talking:
I thought it was funny because of all the rhetoric that Donald Trump is getting and how everybody hates him. And I decided to post the picture. I knew that some people wouldn’t like it. You have to do that, though, you know what I mean? I’m in Slayer [laughs], and being in Slayer, sometimes you do stuff like that just to piss people off.
He went on:
“I didn’t realize it was gonna be the way it was, which is blown out of proportion and people saying really mean things,” he said. “I’m amazed. I was just amazed at the response, as far as people thinking it’s funny and they thought it was great and they support Trump, and other people that didn’t like it, they thought it was ugly and they can’t believe that I support Trump. [Laughs] I don’t even support Trump. I didn’t vote for Trump and I didn’t vote for Hillary [Clinton]. Those are two people that are the furthest from… that I would ever vote for. I was taken aback by the response and how people reacted. But it was all in fun. It was all to make people laugh, ’cause I thought it was funny. And also to piss some people off. I just didn’t realize that I was gonna piss so many Slayer fans off. [Laughs]“
So is everyone overreacting? Yes, websites like ours and many others wrote about the whole thing, which just led to more reaction, and everyone probably spent more time on it than maybe they should have. But given that Araya posted it right after Trump was inaugurated and doubled down on his reasons for doing so, he was pretty much setting himself up for people to react, or perhaps overreact. It’d be interesting to hear who his choice was if it wasn’t Trump or Clinton.