Slayer have urged fans to ignore members of the controversial Westboro Baptist Church, who have planned to picket the public memorial service for the band’s late guitar player Jeff Hanneman.
The service takes place today (May 23) at the Hollywood Palladium in Los Angeles from 3.30pm-7.30pm (PT). The band took to Facebook to post the message to fans, which reads:
Want to really piss off the Westboro Baptist Church at Jeff’s Memorial Celebration? Do exactly what Slayer members and family are going to do – totally ignore them. They don’t exist. And then come inside and celebrate Jeff’s life with us.
The fundamentalist Christian group has a history of picketing outside funerals of dead US soldiers as well as concerts, with Radiohead and Foo Fighters being past victims of their stunts.
Jeff Hanneman, guitarist and founding member of Slayer, died at the age of 49 on May 2 in a California hospital. A statement posted on Slayer’s website on May 9 revealed the cause of death to be alcohol-related cirrhosis.
Stars from the world of rock and metal, including Slash and Dave Mustaine, paid tribute to Hanneman following his death. Posting his tribute on Twitter, Slash wrote: “Tragic & shocking news about Jeff Hanneman. He is going to be missed by so many. What a sad day for Metal. RIP man.”