The editor of Spin magazine, who alleges he was threatened by shock-rocker Marilyn Manson and then choked by Manson's bodyguards backstage at New York's Hammerstein Ballroom last week, said the attack was a set up and that he is considering a civil lawsuit against the singer.
"My feeling is that it was altogether premeditated," Spin Executive Editor Craig Marks, 37, said of the alleged assault. "Especially the physical violence. ... I don't know what he hoped to gain. I don't know if he was trying to intimidate me or just act out for his bandmates. ... It seems like an action that reeks of some kind of desperation."
The editor acknowledged that he was considering filing a civil
suit against the singer but declined to elaborate.
Marks said he was invited by Manson publicist Jennie Boddy to meet
the ghoulish rocker after Manson's sold-out, Nov. 23 show. Manson's
manager, Tony Ciulla, and John Malm, president of Nothing Records,
joined them as they walked backstage to the star's dressing room,
After Manson and Marks shook hands, according to Michael Hirschorn,
the magazine's editor in chief, the shock rocker asked the editor,
"So, what's the deal?" At that point, Marks replied, "I'm not sure
what you're referring to."
Manson then walked away and yelled for everybody to be quiet and
shouted: "I can kill you! I can kill your family! I can kill everyone
you know," Hirschorn confirmed.
Marks attributed the attack to Manson's frustration at not being
featured as the sole artist on the upcoming January Spin cover.
Immediately following Manson's outburst, Marks was pushed against
the wall and lifted off the ground by his neck by two of the
singer's bodyguards, according to Marks. Spin is expected
to issue an official statement on the incident by Tuesday (Dec. 1).
Saying he felt his safety was threatened, Marks, who stands 5 feet
10 inches and weighs 160 pounds, added that he couldn't breath at
Finally, a publicist told the guards to release the editor, at
which point Manson said, "That will teach you to disrespect me!
You have to learn to respect me!"
Marks, who immediately left the backstage area, said he did not
have any inkling that he was going to be attacked.
"I had no sense whatsoever [that I would be attacked]. I was
totally ambushed. If I had any sense that was going to happen,
I wouldn't have gone," Marks said, adding that he does not expect
the incident will color how he deals with artists in the future.
"It might change how I interact with Marilyn Manson in the future,"
he said. "I've interviewed lots of artists in the past and never
had any problems. I wouldn't want to tarnish a profession I respect
and admire because of one bad egg."
Hirschorn said the incident has moved the magazine to consider
hiring security at its New York office.
"We're debating whether we need to have security at the magazine.
We'll be issuing a statement in the next day from Vibe/Spin Ventures
making clear how we will respond to aggression towards any of our employees," Hirschorn said.
"The other point worth making is that even though by pursuing this we might actually harm our ability to gain access to some of the bigger stars," he added, "it's something we need to do as a matter of principle."
Hirschorn added that a humorous article detailing the reaction elicited by one writer dressed up as Manson and driving around Los Angeles will run as planned in the January issue of the magazine.
Marks refused treatment following the alleged backstage attack,
according to police, but was later treated at a hospital for bruises. The editor provided detectives with a photo of one of the bodyguards Wednesday. He added that the other alleged assailant's first name is Aaron, but he did not know his last name.
Police said Wednesday they are continuing to investigate the incident.
Spin retracted an offer to feature Manson alone on the cover of its January issue one week after making the proposal, due to sluggish sales of Manson's Mechanical Animals LP and because several other magazines planned to feature the controversial singer on their covers, according to Hirschorn. That Spin cover now also will include Garbage singer Shirley Manson and -- in a half-sheet additional cover -- hip-hoppers Lauryn Hill, Outkast and the Beastie Boys; singer/songwriter Elliott Smith; French pop-duo Air; and pop acts Alanis Morissette, N'Sync and Matchbox 20.
Publicists at Marilyn Manson's Interscope label did not return calls about the backstage incident by press time; however, his official website (www.marilynmanson.net) confirmed, in a letter posted by the shock rocker, that Manson had a confrontation with Marks.
"I had a conversation with Craig Marks expressing I was tired of Spin's immature business behavior and the series of deals they had broken with me. I told him that I didn't care what he prints or [whether] ... I'm on the cover. I simply no longer wanted to work with him or his magazine that obviously has a lack of respect for musicians and their fans."
In another recent attack by a rocker on a journalist, Jesse Washington, editor of the hip-hop magazine Blaze, a sister publication of Spin, allegedly was beaten by four men at the magazine's New York City offices Nov. 16, according to police.
Washington, 29, was in a sixth-floor conference room at 215 Lexington Ave., at 4:30 p.m., when four black men allegedly assaulted him with a chair, according to police. An employee called police, who arrived on the scene with an ambulance.
Washington suffered lacerations and fractures to his face and was treated at New York University Hospital and later released.
The alleged attack by Manson's bodyguards came just two days after Manson and members of his entourage were accused of going on an arson and property-damage spree before and after a show in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.
The show was part of Manson's tour in support of the LP Mechanical Animals, which includes the hit single "The Dope Show" (RealAudio excerpt).
Before their show at the nearly sold-out, 3,000-capacity Poughkeepsie Civic Center, unidentified members of the group set fire to a T-shirt in their dressing room, which in turn set carpeting ablaze and brought the local fire department to the scene, Poughkeepsie fire chief Jack Forbes said.
"It was basically out when we arrived," Forbes said of the minor blaze, adding that the group also had apparently destroyed some lighting equipment and "basically trashed" the dressing room.
The mayhem continued at the Sheraton Hotel in Poughkeepsie following the show, as bandmembers set fire to carpeting in four hotel rooms and soiled sinks with hair dye, according to the New York Post.
During an appearance on comedian David Letterman's "Late Show" on Friday, Manson twice claimed to have been jailed for the incident and maintained a flip attitude throughout.
"They said I was mad, but I wasn't mad," the red-tressed, black-leather-clad Manson told Letterman in reference to a New York Post report of the Poughkeepsie incident.
"I looked at the dressing room, and I thought it needed some remodeling," was the only explanation given by the controversial singer. "If you were me and you were in a dressing room, wouldn't you do the same?"
Brian Touhey, dispatcher for the Poughkeepsie police, said Manson did not spend time in jail there last week.