Best Of '99: Manson Countersues Ex-Spin Editor For $40M

Says Craig Marks 'greatly damaged' his reputation; cites SonicNet interview.

[Editor's note: Over the holiday season, SonicNet is looking back at 1999's top stories, chosen by our editors and writers. This story originally ran on Saturday, Feb. 20.]

NEW YORK — Marilyn Manson's reputation "has been greatly damaged" by a multimillion-dollar lawsuit filed against the shock-rocker by the former executive editor of Spin magazine and by statements the editor has made about the incident, Manson claimed in a countersuit filed Friday (Feb. 19).

Manson is seeking at least $40 million from Craig Marks, who sued him in January.

Marks claimed he was attacked by two of Manson's associates backstage at a New York club in November because Manson was angry he wasn't pictured alone on the cover of the pop music magazine's January issue.

Manson's lawyer, Paul Cambria, said earlier this week that the two men briefly restrained Marks after he suddenly took his hands out of his pockets, and that "it lasted two seconds."

Because of that sudden move, Marks was "in whole or in part" to blame for any injury he may have suffered, Manson's answer to the suit, filed along with the countersuit, claims.

"Plaintiff was engaged in an activity into which he entered knowing the hazard, risk and danger of the activity and he assumed the risks," the answer says.

Cambria said earlier this week the dispute was about the content of Spin's Manson coverage, not about the magazine's cover.

Manson (born Brian Warner) claims in his countersuit that Marks libeled, slandered and defamed him by filing an assault complaint with police, suing him and making various comments to the media. An interview with Marks published in SonicNet Music News on Nov. 30 is quoted extensively in the counterclaim.

In that interview, Marks was quoted as saying, "My feeling is that [the incident] was altogether premeditated. 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."

But Manson's countersuit claims that Marks statements in the story are false and that they "were made ... with actual malice, hatred and personal ill will."

The countersuit continues, "Manson has been greatly damaged and injured in his reputation and standing in the music profession, in the music and entertainment industries, in his community and in the general public, and has been subjected to great shame, humiliation and indignity."

Manson is seeking a judgment of at least $10 million each on four claims — two for libel, one for defamation and one for slander.

Marks' lawyer, Edward Davis, said Friday the editor — who was subsequently fired from the magazine during an apparently unrelated January editorial shake-up — would have no immediate response.

"I don't think [Marks] would be interested in insulting Manson," Davis said. "He's being a gentleman."

Marks sued Manson, the two associates and the singer's labels, Interscope and Nothing Records, for $1 million to $5 million, citing assault and battery, false imprisonment, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and negligence. The record companies no longer are listed as defendants in the case.

Marks claims in his suit, filed Jan. 4, that he was summoned backstage following a performance by Manson's namesake band at the Hammerstein Ballroom.

When he arrived, Marks claims, Manson said he could "kill Marks, his whole family and everyone he knew."

Marks contends Aaron Dilks and Steven Miller then grabbed him by his neck and lifted him against a wall. Marks' suit names the two men as bodyguards; Manson's counterclaim contends that while Dilks is his bodyguard, Miller is a friend of Dilks.

"After Dilks and Miller had released the plaintiff," Marks' suit charges, "Manson approvingly exclaimed, 'That's what you get when you disrespect me.' "

Davis, Marks' lawyer, said he expects Dilks and Miller, who are also represented by Cambria, to file their own answers to Marks' suit next week. Davis said he doubts Dilks and Miller will file counterclaims, though.

The papers were filed in the civil branch of New York County Supreme Court. No date has been set for a hearing.

Manson begins a co-headlining tour with Hole this month to promote his

1998 album Mechanical Animals, which includes "Coma White"

(RealAudio

excerpt) and "The Dope Show" (RealAudio

excerpt).