If you grew up in the 90s or early 2000s, you’ve probably heard the name Marilyn Manson once or twice. For context, Manson (real name, Brian Warner) is a musician, songwriter, producer – you name it, Manson has done it. Manson is known for his dark persona and gothic outward appearance. But now we know that the role he played as a musician may not differ much from his real-life personality. He relied on shock, gore, and just plain disgusting acts to wow his crowds. So let us dig more into his timeline with assault, anti-Semitism, racism, and a plethora of other grievances; and why the music industry let him get this famous.
In 1998, Nine Inch Nails’ (another popular Industrial Rock band) lead vocalist, Trent Reznor, and Manson stirred controversy. An excerpt from Manson’s autobiography detailed how Reznor and Manson allegedly physically and sexually assaulted an intoxicated woman. In 2001, Manson was charged with sexual assault after placing his private parts on a security guard at a show he was performing. This type of case usually results in two years in prison, but Manson had his charges settled for $4,000. In 2002, Manson was charged with a wrongful death lawsuit by actress Jennifer Symes’ mother, Maria St. John. She claimed Manson had given the actress [Symes] drugs and encouraged her to drive under the influence, resulting in her untimely death. He denied these claims and began a countersuit for slander against St. John. But these weren’t his only controversies.
During performances, Manson was known to cut himself on stage, and in his autobiography, he recounted an earlier concert of his where he had an actress iron the wrinkles out of a Nazi flag onstage. He wrote: “As the show progressed, she sat spread-eagled on the ironing board and pretended to perform an abortion on herself.” (Rolling Stone) Following his recent breakup with Westworld actress Evan Rachel Wood, he described in a 2007 interview with Split how his song “I Want to Kill You Like They Do in the Movies” was about the fantasies he had “every day about smashing her skull in with a sledgehammer.” (Billboard)
Wood has advocated and testified before Congress pushing for a bill of rights for sexual assault survivors and, in more recent news, she labeled Manson as her abuser in an Instagram post. Wood is of Jewish descent and claimed Manson would call her slurs, and frequently said the “n-word” around the house. Fans have also hinted that his tattoos bear a slight resemblance to nazi symbols, such as the swastika and skull and bones. Other survivors have come forward following Wood’s comments, claiming that Manson had also abused them. Manson has denied all allegations and said all of his relationships were consensual, calling the recent claims a “horrible distortion of reality.”
So how has Manson gotten away with all of this throughout the years? Well, as mentioned before, he relies on shock and gore to wow his crowds and had a large cult-like following of fans who attended his concerts praising him as this rockstar “god”. When you think about it, it’s a scary combo: he was able to incorporate his real life into his persona, thus making it seem as if the things he did on stage were just one big act to entertain his fans. His record labels and various music magazines have praised him for being different than other musicians, when in fact he was just one big nazi-abuser-creep.
Today, his fans have taken a step back, his producers and labels have let him go and magazines only print the worst of Manson. But is this good enough? Manson still has a strong following and denies all allegations but with new evidence emerging, his career could finally be over for good.