Vibe/Spin Ventures plans to pursue criminal and civil action against shock-rocker Marilyn Manson in the wake of an alleged backstage attack on Spin magazine's editor at the hands of the singer's bodyguards.
Spin spokesman Jason Roth said charges of assault and harassment have been filed against the controversial artist, who the magazine's executive editor, Craig Marks, claims set him up by inviting him backstage after a New York show last week and then threatening him.
In a statement issued Wednesday (Dec. 2), the company decried the alleged assault, as well as another alleged attack on Jesse Washington, editor in chief of a sister publication,Blaze, by four men in the conference room of the magazine's New York offices. Two men have been arrested and charged in the alleged attack.
In addition to pursuing criminal and civil action on its employees' behalf, the magazine's parent company said it will take several measures to improve security in its midtown Manhattan offices.
"These include increasing security at the Vibe, Spin and Blaze offices, hiring security personnel, and putting in place a system that lets employees call for help in the case of an emergency," the statement read.
"Though this should go without saying, the increasing violence against music journalists, both those working at Vibe/Spin Ventures and elsewhere, is profoundly disturbing," the statement continued. "We hope that by drawing attention to these matters, we can encourage members of the music community to resolve their differences in a civilized manner."
The call for increased security comes following what Marks termed a planned assault backstage at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York on Nov. 23, where the editor allegedly was threatened by Manson and choked by the singer's bodyguards.
"My feeling is that it was altogether premeditated," said Marks, 37, 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."
Marks refused treatment at the scene, according to police. He later was treated at a hospital for bruises sustained in the alleged attack. Marks said he provided detectives with a photo of one of the bodyguards Wednesday and claimed that the other alleged assailant's first name is Aaron. He added, however, that he did not know the man's last name.
Police said they are investigating the incident.
Marks attributed the attack to Manson's frustration at not being featured as the sole artist on the upcoming Spin cover that now also will include Garbage lead singer Shirley Manson and -- in a fold-out section -- 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 have not returned repeated calls regarding the incident; however, his official website (www.marilynmanson.net) confirmed Manson had had a confrontation with Marks in a letter posted by the shock rocker.
"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."
The other alleged attack, which took place Nov. 16, occurred in a sixth-floor conference room at 215 Lexington Ave., at 4:30 p.m., when four men allegedly assaulted Washington with a chair, causing facial injuries, according to police. The editor, who previously claimed Fugees rapper Wyclef Jean pulled a gun on him over a negative review of an album he'd produced, claimed the alleged attack was in response to Blaze revealing the identity of the Mad Rapper to be rap producer Deric "D-Dot" Angelettie.
Angelettie and businessman Anthony Hubbard subsequently were arrested and charged in the crime.
The alleged attack on Marks 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., in support of the LP Mechanical Animals. Manson's first single off the album is titled "The Dope Show" (RealAudio excerpt).
Spin's decision to tighten security struck a chord with representatives of other music magazines.
Jennifer Reitman, director of marketing for the rock magazine Raygun, said she considered the recent incidents to be isolated and not part of a larger trend, and that the Santa Monica, Calif.-based magazine currently has no plans to increase security.
"We don't see an immediate need at the moment to step up security measures at Raygun," Reitman said. "We hope that's not a path publishing is going to have to take. ... I would do whatever it would take to protect the employees of Raygun. ... I think Spin is doing what they feel necessary to make employees of their company feel safe."
Dorothy Stefanski, senior editor at the L.A.-based Rap Pages -- owned by Larry Flynt, the controversial publisher of the porn magazine Hustler -- said she understood why the magazines tightened their security. Flynt already uses a tight security system of locked offices and guards at his headquarters.
"Considering what has happened, if it makes them feel safer, it seems [like an appropriate response]," she said. "Obviously, if someone robs your house, you're going to want security. If someone invades your office, you're going to want security just to make you feel better."