Marilyn Manson set a September 11 release date for his latest album We Are Chaos today, simultaneously premiering the music video for its title track. The song, co-produced by GRAMMY winner Shooter Jennings (Brandi Carlile, Tanya Tucker), finds the 51-year old shock rocker proclaiming, "We are sick, fucked up and complicated," echoing sentiments about himself and society that he's been expressing for nearly three decades.
Earlier in his career, a song like "We Are Chaos" might be read as cultural criticism, but in 2020 it's difficult not to read its lyrics as a statement of pride. Since entering the collective consciousness with a nightmarish Eurythmics cover in 1995, Manson's antics have been well-documented, often by the artist himself—everything from [CW: SELF-HARM]cutting himself onstage to smoking human bones. Also well-documented, often by the artist himself, is a history of abuse, primarily inflicted on women. But while so many of these incidents have been discussed by Manson in interviews, his own memoir and elsewhere, they have stirred far less controversy than the orchestrated stunts that one can't help but view in hindsight as a smokescreen.
Warning: The contents beneath the cut contain at times graphic descriptions of intimate partner violence (IPV), racism and self-harm that some may find disturbing. Reader discretion is advised.
During a July 2001 concert in Michigan, Manson (dressed in only a thong and pantyhose) allegedly spit on a security guard before "wrapping his legs around his head" and "rubbing his genitals against the back of [the guard]'s head and neck." He was charged with fourth-degree criminal sexual assault a few weeks later, pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge, and eventually settled with the victim. [Source]
2009. Twisted Fantasy
In June 2009, SPIN Magazine published what they called an "epic" Q&A with Manson, during which he described blowing hundreds of thousands of dollars on drugs and self-harming after ending his three-year relationship with actress Evan Rachel Wood. He described calling Wood 158 times on Christmas morning in 2008 and cutting his face or hands after each attempt to reach her, adding, "I have fantasies every day about smashing her skull in with a sledgehammer." (Patricia Arquette notably re-shared the article on Twitter in 2018, asking, "Why the hell was this okay?") [Source]
2011. Harassment on the set of House, MD
In a 2018 series of tweets, actress Charlyne Yi recounted alleged harassment by Manson when he visited the set of House, MD during production of the procedural's eighth and final season. She claimed that he made lewd remarks to multiple women onset about engaging in lesbian intercourse and called her "a China man" (Yi's mother is Spanish Filipino and her father is of Korean descent). She later opened up about the harassment she received from Manson's fans for her tweets; Manson never responded. [Source]
2016. "Extreme Psychological and Emotional Abuse"
In January 2018, Instagram user @paperblinds made shocking allegations of abuse by Manson during an online relationship she had with him in 2016. Claiming to have begun communicating with him while in the midst of recovering from "a number of traumatic events," she wrote that she had since become aware of other victims with similar patterns of experience, and that she was moved to share her story upon watching Manson's Channel 4 interview, where he sounded off on the #MeToo movement, a month prior. [Source]
Personal account from a survivor: "this man has hidden behind his 'art' for too long" pic.twitter.com/Dv96mJHHsb— Marilyn Manson Abuse (@MMansonAbuse) March 2, 2018
2017. "Terrified for My Life and Reputation"
In the years since breaking her engagement to Manson in 2010, Wood has made various statements about an abusive relationship she had at the same age she was (19) when her relationship with Manson became public. In November 2017, she described being left to fend for herself by persons on her "powerful" abuser's payroll: "They would have to shake their head sympathetically, but ultimately close the door in my face, while I stood there shaking and covered in blood." [Source]
.@evanrachelwood for @NylonMag : "he has a network of enablers around him. The few times I did reach out to people close to him for help, they were on payroll and had signed non-disclosure agreements, so they would have to shake their head sympathetically" pic.twitter.com/wY0aw5JQK5— Marilyn Manson Abuse (@MMansonAbuse) March 4, 2018
2019. Pleading for Time
Wood's most chilling descriptions of her abuse would come two years later. Appearing before the California State Senate to testify in support of the Phoenix Act, which allows for exceptions to the statute of limitation for survivors of domestic violence, she recalled being cut off from friends and family at 18 and developing what a therapist would later identify as Stockholm Syndrome.
"[My abuser] broke me down through means of starvation, sleep deprivation, and threats against my life, sometimes with deadly weapons," she said, adding that she was filmed partaking in acts of humiliation, routinely raped and shocked with a violet wand. She also seemed to corroborate the story Manson told Spin in 2009, saying, "I mustered the courage to leave several times, but he would call my house incessantly and threaten to kill himself." [Source]
* I would be remiss if I did not thank the user behind the @MMansonAbuse Twitter account for compiling a lot of this information for easy access and sourcing.