Marilyn Manson Responds to Criticism of Prop Gun: It Was 'Not Meant to Be Disrespectful'

Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP
Marilyn Manson arrives at the world premiere of "King Arthur: Legend of the Sword" at the TCL Chinese Theatre on May 8, 2017 in Los Angeles. 

Marilyn Manson faced criticism on Sunday when he wielded a fake rifle prop onstage during a concert in San Bernardino, California. Earlier that day, a gunman had killed at least 26 people when he opened fire on a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. 

Now Manson has issued a statement telling Billboard that his performance was not meant to be "disrespectful or show any insensitivity," but was an attempt to make a statement about gun control. 

"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," he said in an email. "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."

This was Manson's first show in more than a month, having suffered an injury while performing at New York’s Hammerstein Ballroom on Sept. 30 when a large prop featuring a pair of guns fell onto the rocker and broke his fibula