The Marilyn Manson accusations are disturbing – but they are a grimly familiar story for the music industry

The Marilyn Manson accusations are disturbing – but they are a grimly familiar story for the music industry


f you thought that every one the creeps and abusers had been unearthed within the aftermath of #MeToo, assume once more; the nicely is deep and monsters nonetheless lurk within the shadows. This week has introduced information of one other man within the leisure enterprise accused of utilizing his appreciable energy to abuse and management ladies.

Actor Evan Rachel Wood’s allegations on Instagram that her ex-partner Marilyn Manson had abused her all through their relationship within the late 2000s, make for disturbing studying, whether or not or not they’re true. Wooden claims that Manson started grooming her from her teenagers and that she “was brainwashed and manipulated into submission”. The singer, who’s 52, has denied the allegations as “horrible distortions of actuality”. Following Wooden’s assertion, 4 extra ladies, amongst them Manson’s former private assistant, Ashley Walters, and the artist Sourgirrrl, have made claims about his therapy of them. The accusations embrace verbal abuse, coercion, violence and rape. All 4 say they’ve since suffered from PTSD.

Their tales might be grimly acquainted to anybody who has labored in or has an curiosity within the music enterprise. Two years in the past, allegations have been made in regards to the singer Ryan Adams’ abusive behaviour in the direction of his ex-wife, Mandy Moore, and the singer Phoebe Bridgers, with whom Adams had a relationship. He denied the allegations. The Def Jam founder Russell Simmons has been accused of sexual assault by a number of ladies courting again many years (he denies any wrongdoing). Final yr, Mariah Carey claimed that her former husband, the producer and music govt Tommy Mottola, coerced her and reduce her off from family and friends. “Captivity and management are available in many types, however the aim is all the time the identical,” she wrote in her e book, The Which means of Mariah Carey. “To interrupt down the captive’s will, to kill any notion of self-worth and erase the individual’s reminiscence of their very own soul.” He additionally refutes the claims.

It’s simple to have a look at a determine like Manson, for whom pictures of depravity have been central to his inventive output and who kinds himself because the “God of F***”, and picture he could be a lower than honourable human being. However his ghoulish look might have proved to be the final word disguise, a pantomime villain costume below which it was assumed lived a superbly atypical man known as Brian Warner. It’s doable that Manson has – to make use of that depressingly widespread phrase – been hiding in plain sight. Within the mid Nineties, his reside reveals featured him pulling women round on a leash and simulating intercourse with them. A passage in his 1998 e book, The Lengthy Laborious Street Out of Hell, recounts him speaking a younger deaf fan into permitting him and his band to urinate on her and canopy her in meat (she has stated the encounter was consensual); one other information him, one other information him, alongside Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor, blindfolding a drunk lady and taking part in a sport known as “Guess Who’s Touching You?”. In 2009, speaking about Wooden, Manson stated: “I’ve fantasies every single day about smashing her cranium with a sledgehammer.”

Actor Evan Rachel Wooden has made allegations on Instagram that her ex-partner Marilyn Manson had raped and abused her all through their relationship within the late 2000s

(Getty Pictures)

With hindsight, these would look like the actions and statements of a harmful misogynist, however it isn’t so clear reduce. Provocative behaviour has lengthy been inspired in an business that prizes outrage and invention, and, within the pantheon of shock-merchants, Manson was essentially the most stunning of all of them. His complete profession has been a mixing of life and artwork, his tales of darkness and degradation a part of the theatre of this most excessive and subversive performer – or so it was thought. I interviewed Manson in 2003 and he appeared to do his utmost to intimidate me by turning the lights out in his resort suite, drawing the curtains and sitting so near me that I might really feel his breath on my face. It was uncomfortable, however I anticipated nothing much less from a singer who subsisted on his scary status and exhorted followers to chant “Kill God” at gigs.

That Manson was additionally engaged in a battle to defend creative freedom made him a sympathetic determine. Within the late Nineties, he was center America’s worst nightmare and the sworn enemy of a spiritual proper who noticed his cadaverous get-up as proof of devil-worship and deviancy. After the Columbine Excessive Faculty killings in 1999, when two boys from Littleton, Colorado, shot and killed 12 of their classmates and a instructor earlier than turning their weapons on themselves, a media frenzy adopted by which Manson was held immediately accountable (rumours that the killers listened to his music proved unfounded). Within the Oscar-winning documentary Bowling For Columbine, the documentary-maker Michael Moore interviewed Manson. He came to visit not as an emblem of evil however a perceptive social and political observer, and a sufferer of hard-right hypocrisy.

Clearly, if the claims change into true, one other image has now emerged – that of a person seemingly capitalising on his movie star and provocateur standing to allegedly abuse and silence ladies, and utilizing artwork as a smokescreen for unacceptable cruelty. In an Instagram put up final yr, earlier than Wooden had accused Manson by identify, a Twitter person, who labored with Manson first as a touring tech and later as his private assistant, claimed to have witnessed the singer’s abusive behaviour first-hand. Referring to Manson’s now-wife Lindsay Usich, Dan Cleary wrote, “He would threaten to kill her, reduce her up, embarrass her to the world. Making her cry and worry him made him really feel good.” He added: “Everybody in his fast circle is aware of this. However everybody (together with myself) is afraid to say something due to ‘the code’. It’s frowned upon to inform folks’s personal enterprise.”

The troubling claims stretch past the darkish image Cleary paints of Manson’s sadistic behaviour to incorporate the tradition of silence surrounding the musician. No matter seems to be the reality in these claims towards Manson, if #MeToo has proven us something, it’s that “the code” that protects abusive males within the music business must go and a system put in place to permit staff to lodge complaints with out worry of reprisal. As a result of proper now, those that flip a blind eye, or view abusive behaviour as par for the rock-star course, are a part of the issue.

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