Marilyn Manson suffered an “excruciating” injury at New York’s Hammerstein Ballroom on Sept. 30, resulting in a broken fibula that forced him to cancel two weeks of tour dates. Now the shock-rocker is back on the road, and he’s back to stirring up the type of controversy to which he originally became famous for — this time by wielding a fake rifle prop onstage at his San Bernardino, California show on Sunday (Nov. 5).
TMZ shared footage of Manson performing at the Glen Helen Amphitheater, dressed in a hospital gown and wheeled across the stage in a wheelchair by a crew member wearing medical scrubs. The singer brandished the fake rifle during a performance of Heaven Upside Down single “WE KNOW WHERE YOU FUCKING LIVE,” aiming it at the audience as he sang into a microphone attached to the scope of the prop weapon.
The stunt occurred on the same night that a gunman opened fire on a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, killing at least 26 people. San Bernardino was also the site of a mass shooting in December of 2015, when a married couple opened fire on the Inland Regional Center, killing 14 people and seriously injuring 22 others.
Manson is no stranger to gun-related controversy. The 48-year-old singer-songwriter has built an illustrious career commenting on and playing into the fears of Middle America, and setting them to the tune of grinding, industrial glam-rock. Manson received a large amount of public blame for the Columbine High School massacre in 1999; he recently bemoaned, “The Columbine era destroyed my entire career at the time.”
Manson issued the following statement in response to the rifle prop he used in San Bernardino:
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. 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.