Marilyn Manson has responded to criticism he’s received since pointing a fake gun at a crowd in the US earlier this week.
Manson took to the stage in a wheelchair at Ozzfest Meets Knotfest on Sunday in San Bernardino, California, for his first performance since a recent stage accident left him hospitalised.
During the show, the shock rocker pointed a fake semi-automatic rifle with a microphone attached to it into the crowd — a move which was criticised for coming just hours after a gunman killed 26 people in a Texas church. San Bernardino was also the site of a terrorist attack in December 2015, which led to the death of 15 people.
Since the criticism over his fake gun stunt, Manson has issued a statement to Variety saying that it 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,” Manson writes.
“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.”
Footage of Manson taking to the stage with the fake gun can be seen below.
Manson, who recently parted ways with his former bassist Twiggy Ramirez following rape allegations, has recruited The Mars Volta bassist Juan Alderete to fill in. Alderete made his live debut with Manson’s band at Ozzfest Meets Knotfest, but it’s unclear if he’ll be a permanent member of the band.
Meanwhile, Manson recently said he “wants” to tour Australia again, after last performing around the country for Soundwave Festival in 2015.