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."