Entertainment

Marilyn Manson Fans on Their Tattoos: 'I Feel Quite Mortified'

The recent allegations of abuse have forced fans to reconsider their Manson-inspired body art.
February 24, 2021, 11:08am
Marilyn Manson on the red carpet and a Manson tattoo
Photo: Kathy Hutchins / Alamy Stock Photo; tattoo photo courtesy of interviewee

In February, the actor Evan Rachel Wood alleged Marilyn Manson to be her abuser in an Instagram post. “He started grooming me as a teenager and horrifically abused me for years,” she wrote. “I am here to expose this dangerous man and call out the many industries that have enabled him.” Multiple women, including actor Esmé Bianco, have since come forward with further claims of domestic violence and abuse, with the LA County Sheriff's Department launching an investigation into the musician. Manson has denied the allegations as “horrible distortions of reality”.

Many of his fans are now reevaluating how they see their idol, with some deciding to stop listening to his music entirely. But what do you do if you have Marilyn Manson’s face tattooed on your thigh? Or his lyrics across your ribs? VICE spoke to some people who have Manson tattoos about their relationship with their body art since the allegations about the musician began.

Marilyn Manson portrait tattoo

Photo: courtesy

TARA, 22

I got my tattoo two years ago. I have a few tattoos, but he’s the only person I have. It’s quite funny – as soon as I got it, I thought, “He needs to not do anything wrong now otherwise I’ll have to get rid of it.”

I feel quite mortified after the news. I’ve spent the last week looking at ways to cover it up or get it lasered as soon as possible. 

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Finding out the news was heartwrenching, but I’m not going to support someone like that. I’m probably going to do a “blast over” where you leave the tattoo but do a really dark tattoo over the top. What I’m taking away from this is not to get anything tattooed that’s linked to anyone again, I’m going to stick to basic tattoos that I like and look pretty. Maybe I’ll get a Grim Reaper or a big black hood to cover his face.

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MARCELLA, 26

I got my tattoo about a year ago. I started listening to Marilyn Manson when I was 14 and I still listen to him now. I’ve always admired his personality as an artist, so this is not such a beautiful moment for me. 

I’m really disappointed. As a woman, I know how important this fight against abuse is. I hope these accusations are false but the situation is complicated. These accusations are serious but I don’t know Marilyn Manson as a human being. I love him as an artist. I will still listen to his music and I will never cover my tattoo.

If I had a tattoo of his face I would definitely remove it. I think with a quote you can separate him from his art, but it’s another thing to have a portrait of the man behind the quote.

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ANONYMOUS, 33

I don’t have anything positive or negative to say about Marilyn Manson. I got the tattoo in January of 2019. I’m covered in tattoos. It’s on my leg and my leg is full of other portraits, such as Tupac and Rogue Warrior. Marilyn Manson’s not someone I aspire to be like, but he had a pivotal point in music when I was growing up.

I don’t want to blindly dismiss the allegations, but I don’t know the full details. I don’t know what to believe but I don’t put things past anybody, especially celebrities. 

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I’m getting it covered up next month anyway. The artist recently got rid of her picture of this tattoo online. She wants to remove it, and it’s always been my least favourite. 

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ELIS, 18

As soon as I read [the recent news], I had to take down seven posters from my room with his face. I was a hyper fan. I always dressed up with his makeup and outfits. He’s been pretty much the only artist I’ve listened to for the past four years. I’ve been exploring other music now trying to find something else. 

I have a tattoo from Eat Me, Drink Me, one of the more controversial albums now. When I first heard the news, I was really disgusted and felt like I needed to get it removed right away. The more I’ve thought about it, the more I’ve separated the tattoo as something that more represents a hard time in my life that I got through with the help of his music. If I can turn it into something cool then I’ll definitely get it covered, otherwise I won’t.

While he still has a career, I don’t want to be participating in it. I might go back to his older music at some point because I was also listening to it for the guitar and I was as much a fan of the guitarist as him, it’s not just him – it’s a whole band. 

It’s the same with my tattoo. An artist did it, it’s not like Marilyn Manson tattooed this on me himself.

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DINA, 23

It’s a shitty tattoo. I got it when I was 18 because of a song that he wrote called “Spade”. The lyrics are: “you drained my heart and made a spade / there are still traces of me in your veins”. I was sexually assaulted when I was 14 and I interpreted that lyric of turning your heart into a spade as making yourself stronger. And I thought “there’s still traces of me in your veins” meant I’m still important to other people, I’m not a nobody. His work helped me through a lot.

I never idolised him as a person. When I got the tattoo I thought, “Oh my gosh, what if it comes out that he’s anti-Semitic?” I’m very sensitive to that as I’m Jewish. But I thought, “Well you know what, you got this tattoo because of how you interpreted those lyrics for yourself, not because of who he is.

I was going to get a diamond too because he has a lyric “I eat glass and I spit out diamonds”, but now I won’t. I’m not going to get new tattoos of him but I also won’t get rid of this one.

@bethankapur