Yesterday (Nov. 5), Marilyn Manson returned to the stage for the first time since having his leg broken after being toppled by a stage prop in New York on Sept. 30. Performing at Ozzfest Meets Knotfest, Manson appeared in a wheelchair, wielding a fake rifle which was affixed with a microphone in place of the gun’s scope. The incident immediately drew the ire of fans everywhere and now the shock rocker has released a statement explaining his actions.

Throughout the decades, Manson has been a lightning rod for controversy, typically with a motive behind it all. He made a case for this in his reasoning, calling his stunt an “act of theater,” noting his “art has always been a reaction to popular culture” while apologizing to anyone who has been affected by actual gun violence. The full statement (via Variety) can be read below.

In an era where mass shootings have become a nearly daily occurrence, this 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. 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.

The timing of Manson’s stunt, which came while performing the Heaven Upside Down track “WE KNOW WHERE YOU FUCKING LIVE,” was done merely hours after a gunman killed 26 people in a mass shooting at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas.

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