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Marilyn Manson: Racism is a made-up word

Singer discussed outrage culture on a Bret Easton Ellis podcast

Christopher Hooton
Friday 07 November 2014 12:30 GMT

Marilyn Manson has given his thoughts on where racism stands in the 21st century, claiming it is a "stupid, made-up word".

Bret Easton Ellis' podcast is a place for engaging with controversial topics away from the all-caps outrage of the internet, and the rampant accusations of homophobia and racism that flood entertainment news and social media these days have come up time and time again in Bret's various interviews, but even he felt the need to correct the rock star and distance himself from Manson's comments.

Because no-one wants to be quoted out of context (the discussion occurred during a two-hour podcast), here's the exchange in full:

Ellis: "Getting back to the idea of racism and how it's so widely applied to people now, it's just gotten crazy."

Manson: "I don't even really know what to do with it. You know, it's the old tradition of like, 'Yeah man I got a lot of black friends, I got a lot of Jewish friends' or whatever, it's like, the people that I know that are my friends that are black are completely comfortable with my sense of humour because I think that racism is more about if something is like – whatever, it's a stupid word, it's a made up word, it's an ism. Jizm is an ism.

"But it's like if you're not doing something hateful to somebody, you're not trying to hurt somebody, then it's not really a problem. You can make comments about culture, don't avoid the elephant in the room. Stand-up comedians can say whatever they want and somehow that's a free reign but if you say it as a rockstar, say it as a writer, sometimes people misinterpret it - people interpret everything differently.

"But it's a silly way of someone trying to – the other lesson I learned in journalism class was if you criticise something it makes you sound like a better writer than if you compliment it."

Manson was obviously not claiming that racism doesn't exist, but his wording wasn't very wise nonetheless.

Ellis cut in: "Of course that's true and that's why I think there's so many haters on the internet, but racism, you know, let's just clarify, does exist, in a big way."

Manson's ex-girlfriend and actress-turned-director, Rose McGowan, was similarly outspoken when she appeared on the podcast recently, accusing the male gay community of misogyny.

In the face of a barrage of angry tweets she stood by her comments, but apologised for the "gross over-generalisation" which she said was down to her being "pissed off" at the time of the interview.

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