Slayer bassist-singer Tom Araya called the United States a "nation of crybabies" during an interview with Chilean radio station Futuro 88.9. The musician, who was born in Chile, was responding to a question about the controversy that erupted after he posted a photo to Slayer's Instagram of President Donald Trump giving the metal horns with the band.
"That's what America has become," Araya said. "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 and 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."
Araya said he did not post the picture for any particular political reason, but because he thought it would be funny and knew the image would upset some people. "I'm in Slayer," Araya joked. "Being in Slayer, sometimes you do stuff like that, just to piss people off."
Araya called the reaction to the picture "blown out of proportion" and noted that he neither voted for Trump nor Hillary Clinton. "Those are two people that are the furthest from [someone] that I would ever vote for. I was taken back by the response and how people reacted, but it was all in fun and it was all to make people laugh because I thought it was funny. And also to piss some people off — I just didn't realize I was going to piss so many Slayer fans off."
Araya posted the controversial photo in January. The image first went up on Inauguration Day, was deleted, then reposted a few days later. At the time, Araya called those upset by the original post "snowflakes," a term used on the right as a catchall insult for young liberals). While the image remains on the official Slayer Instagram page, the band told Rolling Stone: "As was verified by Tom, this was his post, is not something the band would have posted if asked, and does not belong on a Slayer social page. 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."
Slayer will tour South America and Europe this spring before kicking off a North American tour July 12th in Bemidji, Minnesota.