In the wake of guitarist Jon Schaffer's arrest for his involvement in the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, Iced Earth singer Stu Block and bassist Luke Appleton have left the band.
Schaffer, who is the only member of the band remaining from its 1984 formation, reportedly turned himself in to the FBI in Indiana on Jan. 17 for participating in the insurrection.
The white-bearded guitarist was quickly identified by the metal community and law enforcement in photos taken during the attack.
He is facing six charges — including allegedly using bear spray against police — and was still in custody this past weekend, awaiting a hearing. He faces up to 10 years in prison.
Block, Appleton and remaining Iced Earth members Jake Dreyer and Brent Smedley previously condemned Schaffer's alleged actions in a joint-statement.
"We absolutely DO NOT condone nor do we support riots or the acts of violence that rioters were involved in on January 6th at the US Capitol building," they wrote. "We hope that all those involved that day are brought to justice to be investigated and answer for their actions. With broken hearts we are sending our love and compassion to everyone who has felt pain from the events on January 6th."
Five people died and more than 140 were injured during the attack.
Block, Iced Earth's lead vocalist since 2011, announced his departure from the band on Monday. In a since-deleted post, Block indicated that he initially supported the protests until they turned violent.
“Well, there are times and events when you have to take stock and re-evaluate your life, work, and trajectory for the future. That being said I have informed Jon and his current management that I must announce my resignation from Iced Earth with immediate effect," he wrote in a Facebook post. "Before I made any personal decision I needed the last few weeks to process the situation as well as respect others in our camp processing the situation. I thank you all very much for respecting this. It’s the best decision in many ways for my personal/professional growth going forward. Time to move on, heal and prosper.”
Appleton, a member of the band since 2012, released his own statement around the same time as Block.
"In response to recent events & circumstances, I have notified Iced Earth's management and Jon that I will be resigned as the Iced Earth bassist with immediate effect," he wrote. "I would like to thank everyone who has sent me their support and love during this difficult time."
Schaffer has publicly supported many far-right conspiracy theories in recent years, including claims that the coronavirus pandemic was not a real threat to public health and was actually a "psychological warfare campaign" by global elites hellbent on enriching themselves.
Photo: Getty Images