Music fans were left bewildered in 2016 by the coming together of two very different musical performers: Justin Bieber and Marilyn Manson – one a pin-up pop star, the other a heavy metal icon. Following their viral selfie together, however, the pair’s supposed friendship began to turn sour after Bieber claimed that he had made Manson relevant again. And that was something that the gothic rocker didn’t, ahem, take too kindly to; just recently, in fact, Manson made an incredibly scathing response to Bieber’s remark…
First, though, let’s rewind. So this peculiar musical pairing first came to the public’s attention when a picture of the two surfaced on social media in March 2016. It came in the wake of Bieber’s eyebrow-raising moves towards appearing edgy, with him wearing heavy rock apparel and hanging out with some of the music genre’s mainstays.
And one heavy metal favorite caught wind of Bieber’s newfound dark side when a picture emerged of the pop singer wearing a t-shirt of his. Yes, it was Marilyn Manson, and he made sure to put up a Twitter post so that his followers were aware of the incongruous image.
Still, although Manson initially appeared to be perturbed by the pic, a few months later he posted a photo of himself wearing a Justin Bieber t-shirt. Then, shortly afterwards, an image of Manson with the “Baby” singer surfaced when the pair finally met.
The fast-developing relationship came to a screeching halt, however, when Bieber started selling his own t-shirts with Manson’s kisser on the front. Yes, the limited-edition threads were being sold at Barneys for $195 – despite the fact that they were almost identical to Manson’s own merchandise.
And that wasn’t all. The t-shirt’s designer, Jerry Lorenzo, subsequently claimed on Instagram that he had Manson’s permission to print the t-shirts. “Thanks for understanding our approach and re-interpretation of your vision,” Lorenzo’s post read. “Never would of [sic] thought printing on my vintage t-shirt collection would take us this far.”
The Manson camp saw things from a very different perspective, however. “He was [already] wearing the shirt that had his name on my shirt, and he said to me, ‘I made you relevant again,’” Manson told Consequence of Sound in September 2017. “Bad mistake to say to me.”
“The next day I told him I’d be at his sound-check at Staples Center to do ‘Beautiful People,’” Manson continued, before stating that he never had any intention of turning up. With regards to his non-appearance, Manson said, “[Bieber] believed that I’d show up, because he was that stupid.” And according to Manson, it was around this time that Bieber admitted that the t-shirt design was his idea.
Manson further claims that he decided to act following this alleged admission by Bieber. “[I] took all the proceeds from those shirts from him,” Manson said. “They didn’t even fight; they were just like, ‘Yeah, we already know, we did wrong, so here’s the money.’” But with both sides giving different versions of events, whom do you believe?
Well, regardless of whose account you accept, there’s no doubt that the rift between the pair had become bitter. And, inevitably, the public seemed equally divided with regards to who was right and who was wrong. It was at this point, moreover, that Manson decided to up the ante by further expressing his disdain for the pop star.
And it turned out that the cause of his ire was Bieber’s “relevant” comment. “He was a real piece of s**t in the way he had the arrogance to say that,” Manson told Consequence of Sound, leaving nobody in any doubt as to his feelings.
Manson wasn’t finished with Bieber yet, however. “He was a real touchy-feely guy, too, like, ‘Yo yo bro!’ and touches you when he’s talking,” the heavy rock icon continued. “I’m like, you need to stand down, you’re d**k height on me, okay? [laughs] Alright? So stand down, son.”
But if Bieber really did make those comments about Manson’s relevance, then it’s hard to feel that the brash young singer didn’t bring this on himself. Then again, it’s also fair to say that Manson – who became a star in the 1990s – hasn’t been as prominent in the public eye in recent years, which may well have made the alleged remarks sting a little.
In any case, this topsy-turvy relationship would take yet another wild turn when Manson appeared on The Howard Stern Show to promote his new album. You see, the radio DJ asked to see Bieber’s alleged text messages to Manson, one of which supposedly read, “Bro, it’s Bieber. What’s up with that article? I thought we had a pretty pleasant interaction.”
The alleged message continued, “Also, if anything wasn’t squared away with the t-shirts, I’m so sorry. Anyway, regardless, it kind of stung seeing that if I came off as an a**hole or was just an a**hole, I’m sorry?” Manson then told Stern that he had replied, “[The interview] was exaggerated. You were just you being you. No beef here.”
When subsequently prompted by Stern to explain his reply, Manson stated, “I just said, ‘You were just being you,’ which could mean you’re just being an a**hole, or whatever.” And this allegedly prompted Bieber to apologize again, supposedly texting, “Honestly, I totally thought we hit it off. Again, my bad, if I was an a**hole – that wasn’t my intention. Just want you to know that.”
Anyhow, Manson wrapped up the conversation about the incident with Stern by saying, “We are cool. People just made that shirt stuff into a fake feud. Let’s turn it upside-down and f**k the press and do something together. It will be the best. And don’t apologize, you weren’t an a**hole. They asked if you were, and I sort of agreed. I wasn’t out to get you.”
So the story ends happily ever after? Well, not quite. In October 2017 Manson stirred the pot again when asked about his beef with Bieber. “Well he’s in some sort of sexual religious cult with an Asian version of Dave Navarro, apparently,” Manson told 97.1. “But no, I don’t like to fight with girls, so I don’t want to fight with Justin Bieber.”
And on the subject of the repurposed t-shirt, Manson told the radio station that he didn’t have any idea what was going through Bieber’s head. “I don’t know, because I don’t know how to use the mind of a squirrel,” he said. That said, Manson did also have some kinder words on this occasion…
“It is representing rock and roll, though. I appreciate the fact that you identify with the integrity that I try to represent with rock music,” Manson added. “Because if I don’t do it, who else is going to?” Still, he’d certainly made his opinions about Bieber crystal clear.
So, in conclusion, this unlikely pair still seem to be at odds with each other for now – although, in fairness, that could be down to the fact that Manson is probably looking for publicity for his latest record, Heaven Upside Down. One thing’s for sure, though: their rollercoaster relationship is just as mystifying as their initial coming together.