The 10 questions we would like Marilyn Manson to answer

Marilyn Manson
(Image credit: Perou)

The latest issue of Metal Hammer features a telephone interview with Marilyn Manson that ended abruptly when we broached the subject of Evan Rachel Wood. The magazine (issue 342) is on sale Thursday and available to order online.

After the interview, we repeatedly offered Manson’s team the chance for him to do another interview and tell us his side of the story. No interview was scheduled. Finally on October 21, days before the magazine went to press, his UK PR wrote to us: “We have never refused to respond," he said. "You have chosen not to tell us what you are writing and it’s impossible to respond to something we don’t know the content of.”

We wrote back with some questions for Manson to respond to. We believe that they offer him the opportunity to express his side of the story. Here are the questions and the Manson team's response.

1) In the interview, before the call was terminated, we asked how Marilyn Manson (MM) felt on hearing Evan Rachel Wood (ERW)’s testimony. How did he feel? 

2) How does it feel to be “tried by social media”? He has been accused by people online of some terrible things. Would he like to take this opportunity to answer those critics and clear his name?

3) ERW responded to online gossip that her unnamed abuser was [actor] Mickey Rourke by tweeting: “A lot of rumors have been circulating around about who I was talking about in my testimony. I would like to clear something up and say, it wasn’t Mickey Rourke.” How did MM feel to read that, bearing in mind that some people online have claimed that the unnamed abuser could be him? Did he reach out to ERW and ask her to clear his name also?

4) After a Twitter user asked ERW why she has never named her abuser, she replied: “They threatened to kill me or have me killed”. Back in 2009, MM appeared to make light-hearted/hyperbolic comments about fantasising about “smashing her skull with a sledgehammer” – does he regret making comments like that today?

5) Does he agree with Patricia Arquette's tweet that “Marilyn Manson Cutting himself 158 x’s when he called Evan Rachel Wood after breakup it’s not [LOVEHEART EMOJI] it’s abuse”?

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6) What does it say of our culture that when he made those comments in 2009 they were seen as Manson being controversial and outrageous but today are questioned and considered abuse?

7) Another former girlfriend of Marilyn Manson’s, Esmé Bianco, also testified in front of the California Senate Public Safety Committee about an abusive past relationship she had. How does he feel about the fact that two of his ex-girlfriends have had such relationships?

8) Another of Manson’s former partners, Rose McGowan, has been at the forefront of the #MeToo movement – with at least three of his ex-partners claiming to have suffered abuse at the hands of men who then intimidated them into silence, does he stand in support of them?  

9) It’s possible to interpret lyrics on the song Perfume on his new album as being about ‘victim culture’ – the song seems to suggest that some victims relish their victimhood and do it for fame (‘So you wear your damage on your sleeve… Cause victim is chic/You’re as famous as your pain’) - is that how he feels?

10) The song could even be considered threatening to someone who is claiming victimhood:In your hair will be brains.’ What is the song Perfume about?

Marilyn Manson’s UK PR representative replied, “We have advised our client not to comment further on your article,” and went on to make a statement: 

“Personal testimony is just that, and we think it’s inappropriate to comment on that.

“You then go on to talk about Manson being accused of 'terrible things' by unnamed 'critics' but offer no guidance on who these critics are and what these things are, so it’s not possible to comment.

“You then mention Mickey Rourke. It is my understanding that Evan Rachel Wood dated multiple people around the time she was dating Manson. Basic internet research will give you a host of other names that have not come up in any of our discussions.

“Your next couple of points deal with comments Manson made in Spin magazine in 2009. Your confusion around the timeline of this is extremely worrying. [Editor’s note: there is no confusion around this timeline.] The comments in Spin where Manson had a fantasy of using a sledgehammer on Evan and he cut himself 158 times was obviously a theatrical rock star interview promoting a new record, and not a factual account. The fact that Evan and Manson got engaged six months after this interview would indicate that no one took this story literally.

“You go on to talk about Manson commenting on sexual harassment, Me Too and specifically the experiences of his ex partner Rose McGowan. These are all issues that Manson has publicly addressed and are available online. Please see Channel 4 interview from 15th December 2017.

“Manson has never shied away from public comment – equally he does not have to make the same comment twice.

“There will be no further comment on specific songs. Your journalist had the opportunity to ask Manson about his music – one of only two interviews granted in the UK – and he chose not to. Trying to weave one section of one song from an artist with a 30 plus year career to fit a narrative is both disingenuous and troublesome.

“You mention Manson’s ex fiancée Rose McGowan in your questions. Rose is one of the bravest and most outspoken figureheads of the Me Too movement. Manson remains friends with McGowan and she talks very fondly of their three a half years together. There are multiple sources worldwide. I link to a Washington Post article on McGowan’s memoir Brave.

“You fail to mention Manson’s ex-wife Dita Von Teese, who remains good friends with Manson. Quoting from a Female First article published in 2018, 'Dita admits she has been “lucky” to avoid any abusive episodes in the entertainment industry in her career'. 

“There are also numerous articles over multiple years where Evan Rachel Wood speaks very positively about her relationship with Manson. In’s The Edit: “I wouldn’t trade any of [our relationship],” Wood told the mag. “I appreciate everything he taught me. I just don’t think we were right for each other.” 

“Finally you talk about death threats. Manson knows all about those – he has had many. He has spent his career being blamed for everything from Columbine to teenage suicide. Unfortunately, we live in a time where people believe what they read on the Internet, and feel free to say what they want with no actual evidence. The effects can be catastrophic and promoting non fact based information is wholly irresponsible. All we can try and do, as the media and individuals, is to use facts and truth and not hide behind gossip and conjecture to further our own agendas."

Issue 342 of Metal Hammer is on sale Thursday (and available to order online).

Scott Rowley
Content Director, Music

Scott is the Content Director of Music at Future plc, responsible for the editorial strategy of online and print brands like Louder, Classic Rock, Metal Hammer, Prog, Guitarist, Guitar World, Guitar Player, Total Guitar etc. He was Editor in Chief of Classic Rock magazine for 10 years and Editor of Total Guitar for 4 years and has contributed to The Big Issue, Esquire and more. Scott wrote chapters for two of legendary sleeve designer Storm Thorgerson's books (For The Love Of Vinyl, 2009, and Gathering Storm, 2015). He regularly appears on Classic Rock’s podcast, The 20 Million Club, and was the writer/researcher on 2017’s Mick Ronson documentary Beside Bowie