Controversy has always been Marilyn Manson’s stock in trade, but he went a bit far even for him in San Bernardino on Sunday night: On the day of yet another mass shooting — Sunday’s in Texas, where 26 people were killed — he turned a fake gun on the crowd in a city that itself saw 14 people killed in a 2015 shooting.
Video footage shows Manson pointing the gun at the crowd from a wheelchair — the concert was his first since his leg was shattered by a falling stage prop in September — as he sings “We Know Where You F—ing Live” while a stagehand in medical scrubs wheels him around the stage. The gun was obviously fake (it had a microphone inside it), BUT STILL.
While the media uproar on Monday was considerable, Kelli Skye Fadroski, a reporter for the San Bernardino Sun, said the crowd’s reaction was less extreme.
“Coming on the eve of a mass shooting at a church in Texas, Manson could have had a bit more tact, but it’s Manson,” she wrote. “He has always aimed for the shock value or to be provocative and though some that were in the crowd thought it was ‘lame,’ the stunt didn’t seem to truly bother anyone else, especially with the handful of San Bernardino sheriffs standing on either side of the stage.”
A rep for Manson did not immediately respond to Variety’s request for comment.
The incident was the latest in a string of harsh events for Manson in recent weeks: He fired longtime bassist Twiggy Ramirez (Jeordie White) ast month after a former girlfriend accused the musician of sexual assault, and on Oct. 23, founding guitarist Daisy Berkowitz (Scott Putesky) died after a long struggle with cancer.