Marilyn Manson has issued a statement following controversial performance at San Bernardino in California on Sunday night. The incident occurred during the song ‘WE KNOW WHERE YOU FUCKING LIVE’, where Manson, who was being wheeled around the stage by a stagehand in medical scrubs, sang into a fake assault rifle with a microphone attached while pointing it at the audience.
Response was largely polarising, with people criticising it as insensitive and extreme, particularly since it was done on the same day as a horrific mass shooting in Texas, and that the city of San Bernardino had also seen a mass shooting back in 2015.
Manson, who has always been outspoken about his aversion to America’s current gun laws, said in his statement: ‘In an era where mass shootings have become a nearly daily occurrence, this was an act of theater in an attempt to make a statement about how easily accessible semi-automatic weapons are and how seeing them has become normalized.
‘My art has always been a reaction to popular culture and my way to make people think about the horrible things that happen in this world. My performance was not meant to be disrespectful or show any insensitivity.
‘The prop microphone I used on stage was handed to me with the approval of a police officer. My empathy goes out to anyone who has been affected by the irresponsible and reprehensible misuse of REAL guns.’
Manson’s opposition to the accessibility of guns in America has been a well-known fact for decades, and came to prominence following the Columbine High School massacre in 1999, where two students attacked their high school with assault rifles, killing fifteen people including themselves. After it was revealed that the two gunmen were fans of Manson’s music, numerous members of the American public and government rallied for a ban on his music, blaming him for supposedly brainwashing children to act violently. Manson has always vehemently denied the claims, stating instead that the shooting was a result of the poor mental health of the two teenagers, and their easy access to fully automatic weapons.
It should be noted that as of the shooting in Texas, the Columbine Massacre is no longer in the top ten worst mass shootings in American history.