The unrivaled king of shock and horror rock, Marilyn Manson, has come under fire this week for using a prop gun during a California live performance. The show took place Sunday, Nov. 5 in San Bernardino, Ca, the same city where 2 years ago, 22 people were killed in a mass shooting at a non-profit facility which aids individuals with developmental disabilities.
Manson is known globally for his brand of shock art imagery used widely in music videos and live performances. In fact, the 48-year-old Ohio-native and self-proclaimed "God Of Fuck" has been on the scene for nearly 30 years, delivering controversial and headline-making performances that date back to the beginning of his career– many of which utilize nudity, sex as well as prop weapons and implied violence.
With this in mind, for Manson to use a prop gun – one which was actually a functional mic holder – in a live performance is somewhat non-news for those who have followed the musician throughout his career.
However, with last month's Las Vegas' country music festival mass shooting, which left 59 dead, and 26 lives lost during a shooting in a Sutherland, TX church just this month, tension is uncomfortably high surrounding guns.
Due to the attention his stunt caused, Manson has released a statement regarding his use of the assault rifle prop:
"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."
While the current climate surrounding gun violence in America is at an all-time high, Manson's statement does give a reality check surrounding the prevalence of guns within our society. Unfortunately, America owns nearly half of the civilian guns in society, and until we're able to acknowledge this fact, fake props from a veteran shock artist should be the least of our worries.