On Sunday, Marilyn Manson took the stage at Ozzfest Meets Knotfest in San Bernardino, California. It marked his first live performance since a stage prop accident left him needing 10 screws and a plate inserted into his leg. As such, Manson was confined to a wheel chair for the entirety of his set. That didn’t make his act any less shocking, however.
At one point during the performance, Manson sprayed the audience with bullets from a fake semi-automatic weapon (via TMZ). The disturbing onstage antic came just hours after a real-life gunman opened fire inside a church in Texas, killing 26 people and injuring many more. Additionally, San Bernardino was the site of its own terrorist attack in December 2015, which left 15 dead.
Perhaps Manson was hoping to change the conversation from what has been an otherwise turbulent last few weeks for the veteran rocker. Beyond the postponement of Manson’s North American tour, his longtime bandmate and writing partner, Twiggy Ramirez was fired from the band after being accused of rape, and founding member Daisy Berkowitz lost his battle with colon cancer. Still, even for music’s most notorious shock rocker, staging a faux mass shooting seems a little much.
Update: Manson has issued a statement regarding the use of the controversial prop. He says the gun-mic 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.” Read the full thing below (via Variety):
“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.”