Marilyn Manson: Assault Rifle Stunt 'Not Meant to be Disrespectful'

"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"

Marilyn Manson defended his actions at his concert in San Bernardino, California, where the shock rocker pointed a fake assault rifle at the crowd. Credit: Francesco Prandoni Redferns

Marilyn Manson defended his actions at his Sunday night concert in San Bernardino, California, where the shock rocker pointed a fake assault rifle at the crowd, saying the stunt critiqued how assault weapon violence has been "normalized" in our society.

"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," Manson said of the stunt.

During his performance of "We Know Where You Fucking Live" Sunday at Knotfest Meets Ozzfest, Manson – confined to a wheelchair due to his onstage accident – used a microphone fashioned to the scope of the prop assault rifle so that when he sang the track, the gun was held as if it was about to be fired, TMZ reported Monday.

"My performance was not meant to be disrespectful or show any insensitivity," Manson continued. "The prop microphone I used on stage was handed to me with the approval of a police officer."

Manson's concert took place just hours after a gunman opened fire on a Sutherland Springs, Texas church, killing 26 people. The concert's setting, San Bernardino, California, similarly witnessed a December 2015 terror attack that killed 14 people at a Christmas party. An assault rifle was used in both killings.

"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," Manson concluded. "My empathy goes out to anyone who has been affected by the irresponsible and reprehensible misuse of REAL guns."

Manson's Knotfest Meets Ozzfest gig was the artist's first since injuring himself and canceling nine shows when a stage prop crushed him mid-concert, as well as Manson's first show with new bassist Juan Alderete after firing Twiggy Ramirez over that artist's sexual assault allegations.