Over the weekend, Marilyn Manson used a fake gun as a stage prop in his performance at Ozzfest Meets Knotfest, pointing it at the audience in a move that could easily be seen as mimicking a mass shooting. This caught a lot of heat today for a wealth of reasons, including what some would describe as a lack of sensitivity with regards to yesterday’s tragic events at Sutherland Springs, the recent mass shooting that happened near the event’s site in San Bernardino, and the wealth of recent attacks that have taken place at concerts.
Manson, for his part, is not backing down on the decision. As Pitchfork points out, Manson released a statement defending his actions, claiming that the move is meant as “an act of theater” that raised issues with guns in contemporary culture. In Manson’s own words, his “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.” Check out the full statement below, and decide for yourself whether this performance was a step too far to make a point about guns, or just another move in a long line of dark cultural criticism.
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.