Marilyn Manson fans have a responsibility to not enable him – I won't be buying his music or concert tickets again
As a teenager in the noughties, Laura* was a huge rock and metal fan – and Marilyn Manson was her "gateway drug". Aged 14, her childhood bedroom was plastered with posters and photographs of him. She saw him perform for the first time when she was 16, which she tells me was "just incredible". Since then, she's seen Manson live six times.
"I really liked his music," she says. "I liked that some of the stuff he sang about was controversial, and going through that rebellious teenage phase, his 'outcast' persona was really interesting."
Now, fans like Laura are facing a reckoning.
The accusations against Marilyn Manson
When Evan Rachel Wood accused her former partner, Manson, born Brian Warner, of sexual assault on February 1, the wall of silence surrounding the musician crumbled quickly.
Since the Westworld actress spoke out, at least fifteen other women have stepped forward with similar allegations, including emotional abuse, gaslighting, drugging and violence.
For her part, Wood wrote in a statement on social media: "He started grooming me when I was a teenager and horrifically abused me for years. I was brainwashed and manipulated into submission."
52-year-old Manson has since denied the claims. Posting to social media on February 2, he said that the accusations were "horrible distortions of reality", and stated that his "intimate relationships have always been entirely consensual with like-minded partners."
Manson's record label, Loma Vista Recordings, his manager, and his talent agency, CAA, have all now dropped him.
'It didn't surprise me'
So has Laura – and much of the alternative and metal scene in North London – which she remains a part of.
"I think the saddest thing is it didn't surprise me," she says of the allegations. She speaks of reading his autobiography as a teenager, The Long Hard Road Out of Hell, and how she views it now, aged 29.
"At the time, I thought, 'Oh, that's just rockstar behaviour.' Now, reading it again, I'm like, 'that's sickening that you would treat someone like that – that you treat women like that. And that you think it's okay to write about these things as if it's completely normal."
Laura is echoing something that has repeatedly been said about Manson in light of recent events; that he was hiding his alleged crimes "in plain sight".
For instance, in his 1998 autobiography, the musician admits to coming close to carrying out the "perfect murder" of his former bandmate and lover, Nancy. "This was the first time I had ever seriously considered murder. … She had to die," he wrote – explaining that he got spooked moments before reportedly attempting to burn her to death in her home.
"It's such a shame because I genuinely do love his music. The kind of disappointment we feel as fans is gutting," Laura continues. "But I do feel we have a responsibility to not enable someone like this person.
"One of my friends who DJs at a club in Camden where Manson is on the setlist a lot has come out and said: 'Everyone's asking me questions, and actually, for the time being, I won't be playing his music.' I think that's the right thing to do. Certainly, right now, it's disrespectful."
Laura is conscious that financially supporting alleged abusers like Manson assists them in living in the privileged positions that made their purported crimes possible. "I'm not going to buy his CD's or his merch – like I do for my brother every Christmas. I definitely won't be buying concert tickets to see him again," she explains.
'He doesn't represent us'
She also doesn't want the allegations to further marginalise the rock, goth, and metal scene in London. "Judging by all the bars and clubs I've been to London, it's a surprisingly diverse crowd," she tells me. "There are people of all ages and backgrounds. It's nice. Everyone is really friendly. It's just such a shame because he doesn't represent us."
Towards the end of our interview, Laura pauses, and asks if I can change her name. She is wary of being seen as endorsing Manson in any way.
It's understandable because while Manson doesn't speak for the community, he has long been seen as a figurehead - and as an entry point. Now, Laura's scene – and countless others across the world – are having to contend with the fact that they misjudged the musician, who, with hindsight, did little to hide his alleged crimes.
If you, or someone you know, is suffering from sexual violence or abuse, please contact The Survivors Trust's free helpline on 08088 010818.
Four Nine has reached out to Marilyn Manson's representatives for comment.
*Laura's name has been changed according to her wishes