Every single time Marilyn Manson has shown his true colours
TW: abuse, sexual assault
We’ve once before addressed the prevalence of abuse and sexual assault within the alternative music scene on this site. As an issue that continues to impact women, as fans of the music, on an all too regular basis, here we are talking about it again.
This week, Evan Rachel Wood, publicly confirmed, for the first time, the name of the “significant other” who had abused her during their relationship, as first alluded to in an interview she did with Rolling Stones back in 2016.
His name is Brian Warner. You may know him as Marilyn Manson:
Through her actions, Wood has inspired a plethora of survivors to also come forward and share their experiences of abuse at the hands of the shock-rock-star.
Manson has denied the allegations, vehemently maintaining that his relationships have always been “entirely consensual.” This seems like a good time to mention that at the time that Wood and Manson went public with their relationship, he was 36 years old and she was just 19. It’s hard to find the premise for consent in a 17 year age gap, particularly when one person in the pairing just happens to be a teenager…
From name alone, Marilyn Manson has long thrived on shock value. Since his musical debut back in the 90s, this has, for the most part, been trivialised as part of his theatrical persona, a mere marketing tactic to push records onto the misunderstood underbelly of society. But at long last, the real man behind the smoke and mirrors has been revealed.
It turns out, the most effective place to hide is in plain sight.
Hopefully, these speak for themselves, but here are all the times Marilyn Manson has shown his true colours:
The Long Hard Road Out of Hell, 1998
In a largely misanthropic, misogynistic, and microscopically-detailed autobiography, Manson brings to life some of his deepest, darkest thoughts, unafraid to share even his most grotesque idiosyncrasies, showing self-awareness of his ability to pass off the most macabre and decrepit as part of his freak-show-like allure to a cult-like audience.
In one chapter, he professes coming close to executing the “perfect murder” of an ex-lover after an acrimonious break-up:
“This was the first time I had ever seriously considered murder. … She had to die…”
“While I didn’t think it was right to take a human life, I didn’t think it was right to deny myself the chance of causing someone to die either, especially someone whose existence meant so little to the world and to herself…”
“At the time, taking someone’s life seemed like a necessary growing and learning experience, like losing your virginity or having a child.”
The only thing that stopped him from following her home and burning her alive, was the paranoia of being caught:
“After that night, I became too paranoid to kill Nancy, too scared of getting caught and sent to prison..”
“I woke up to the fact that I had told too many people of my hatred for her, and even the best plan … wasn’t good enough to protect us from chance events like passing police cars.”
In another grimacing recall of his youth, Manson recites his threats to rape a woman to “get her attention.”
After realising that both he and a friend had a crush on the same woman at the piercing parlour who “wouldn’t even acknowledge our humanity, no matter what part of our body we asked her to pierce”, he decided to fall back on “my usual deviant way of getting a girl’s attention: malicious, asinine behavior.”
Every day for a month, they would prank call her at her workplace:
“At first, the calls were harmless. But they quickly grew meaner. ‘We’re watching you,’ we’d threaten her at the height of our spite-masked lust. You better not leave work tonight, because we’re going to rape you in the parking lot and then crush you underneath your own car.”
The following is an extract from an interview with SPIN magazine:
SPIN: “It sounds like the period after you and Evan Rachel Wood broke up was really tough. What was your lowest point?”
Manson: “My lowest point was Christmas Day 2008, because I didn’t speak to my family. My walls were covered in scrawlings of the lyrics and cocaine bags nailed to the wall. And I did have an experience where I was struggling to deal with being alone and being forsaken and being betrayed by putting your trust in one person, and making the mistake of that being the wrong person. And that’s a mistake that everyone can relate to. I made the mistake of trying to, desperately, grasp on and save that and own it. And every time I called her that day — I called 158 times — I took a razorblade and I cut myself on my face or on my hands.
I look back and it was a really stupid thing to do. This was intentional, this was a scarification, and this was like a tattoo. I wanted to show her the pain she put me through. It was like, “I want you to physically see what you’ve done.” It sounds made up but it’s completely true and I don’t give a shit if people believe it or not. I’ve got the scars to prove it. I didn’t want people to ask me every time I did an interview, “Oh, is this record about your relationship with your ex-girlfriend?” But that damage is part of it, and the song “I Want to Kill You Like They Do in The Movies” is about my fantasies. I have fantasies every day about smashing her skull in with a sledgehammer.”
‘Running To The Edge Of The World’ (music video), 2009
In a music video off of his 2009 album, ‘The High End Of Low’, Marilyn Manson is depicted brutally beating a graphically-shown bloodied woman, most notably resembling his then on-again-off-again girlfriend, Evan Rachel Wood.
There is nothing more to say on this, it’s all on show for everyone to see.
The blog site, ‘Buddyhead’, published an article back in 2009 referring to the ageing rocker as a “cocaine-addled, trucker-cap-wearing buffoon.” In true narcissistic fashion, Manson took to the internet to defend, well, himself:
“I am far different than the soon-to-be-murdered-in-their-home press has decided to fabricate.”
“If one more ‘journalist’ makes a cavalier statement about me and my band, I will personally or with my fans’ help, greet them at their home and discover just how much they believe in their freedom of speech.”
Rolling Stone, 2015
At this time, Manson is dating photographer Lindsay Usich. Recounting the borderline tyrannical details of their private life in an interview with Rolling Stone, he divulges:
“Five is the absolute minimum number of times that the act of “sexual congress,” as he calls it, “shall take place in a day, with 10 being the most recent maximum.”
Further into the interview, we’re given a glimpse into the nature of their relationship:
Upstairs, behind a closed bedroom door, is the raven-haired Usich. Manson allows that she won’t be coming downstairs tonight. Maybe they’ve been having some relationship issues. Maybe she doesn’t understand that when he writes a song for his new album like “The Devil Beneath My Feet,” with lyrics like “Don’t bring your black heart to bed/When I wake up, you best be gone or you better be dead,” he’s not necessarily referring to her, even though they did come from a text he sent her.
And how does he justify his behaviour, you ask? Why, he’s just a big kid, of course! Boys will be boys…
He starts talking about his friendship with [Johhny] Depp again. “We like to consider ourselves 12th-graders, the guys with more experience than the ninth-graders, the ones that the girls want to f*ck. I mean, time and age are really irrelevant to me. Johnny is the same way. Sometimes, I think I’m trapped in the age that I started this. I’m trapped at 23.” Or 14, of course, depending on the company.
Channel 4 News, UK, 2017
In an appearance on the UK’s Channel 4 back in 2017, his ex-fiancée, Rose McGowan, is brought up, specifically in reference to her spearheading the #MeToo movement against Harvey Weinstein.
His response was troubling at the time but, now with the addition of hindsight, very on brand:
“I can’t turn on my phone every day without someone being accused of something.”
“Maybe it’s all men are bad, or all men can’t do anything inappropriate. It makes you feel you can’t even say… or if I meet her [motions to woman off camera] and if I look at her the wrong way, I’m going to be accused of something wrong.”
Manson professes that his fear is that the sheer volume of allegations would “turn the whole world’s attention from the artistic element of Hollywood” and risk ruining movies. If only the solution to this were as simple as the men in power just not abusing anyone, *sigh*.
Since Wood’s allegations came out, Lorna Vista Recordings have announced that they will cease to work with Marilyn Manson on his latest album, and his guest appearance in fantasy drama ‘American Gods’ will be removed from an upcoming episode.
This is a small step in reparations for the survivors, but a big step in illustrating how we, as a collective, can start to hold abusers accountable for their actions. The more repercussions faced by an assailant, the larger the likelihood of preventing this level of ego-centric entitlement in future generations, and forcing change on the music industry as a whole.
In an interview in November 2020, Metal Hammer pushed Manson for a response on the allegations against him. Although the singer didn’t respond directly himself, his UK press representative was quick to claim, “the comments in SPIN where Manson had a fantasy of using a sledgehammer on Evan and he cut himself 158 times was obviously a theatrical rock star interview promoting a new record, and not a factual account. The fact that Evan and Manson got engaged six months after this interview would indicate that no one took this story literally.”
That’s an interesting angle. But I’ll leave you with a quote from Marilyn Manson himself with Grantland a few years’ back:
“I don’t think that for me, as a person, that there’s a real strong line between fiction and reality,” he said before hanging up. “I don’t really want there to be one.”
UK 24-hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline: 0808 2000 247
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