LACONIA, New Hampshire (AP) – After pleading no contest, Marilyn Manson was handed a sentence of 20 hours community service and a fine on Monday for blowing his nose on a videographer at a 2019 concert in New Hampshire.
The shock rocker, 54, wanted to appear via video for his hearing on the misdemeanour charge, but the judge required him to be in the courtroom in Laconia, about 30 miles north of Concord, the state capital.
Manson, whose legal name is Brian Warner, was charged with two misdemeanour counts of simple assault stemming from the encounter with the videographer at the Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion in Gilford on August 19, 2019.
Manson pleaded no contest to just the nose-blowing charge in a fully negotiated plea agreement with prosecutors. The prosecutors agreed to dismiss the other charge, which alleged that he spit on the videographer. A no contest plea means Manson is not contesting the charge and does not admit guilt.
Manson was fined a little more than USD1,400 as part of the deal, with USD200 suspended. He needs to remain arrest-free and notify local police of any New Hampshire performances for two years.
The judge, who called Manson’s acts “egregious,” agreed to allow Manson to do his community service in California. Manson mentioned to reporters that he might choose to work with people in recovery. He has to give proof of his community service by February 4.
According to a police affidavit, Manson approached videographer Susan Fountain in the venue’s stage pit area, put his face close to her camera and spit a “big lougee” at her. She was struck on both hands with saliva. He approached her again later, kneeling and covering one nostril before blowing the other on her arms and hands.
Manson “blows a significant amount of mucous at Fountain,” a police sergeant who reviewed concert video footage said in the affidavit. After that, the camera view changes and people can see Manson “point and laugh at Fountain as she gets down and walks away,” the affidavit said.
After that, the camera view changes to another one and people can see Manson “point and laugh” etc.
Fountain was not in court, but submitted a statement that was read aloud.
“For me, I’m a professional person and I’ve been in this industry for 30 years. I’ve worked for a lot of companies, and in all the years I’ve worked with people, I’ve never been humiliated or treated the way I was by this defendant,” it read. “For him to spit on me and blow his nose on me was the most disgusting thing a human being has ever done.
“I understand this was not a big criminal charge to begin with, but I was hoping that the defendant would receive a sentence that would make him think twice before doing something like this again,” the statement read.
Monday, Manson walked into the main entrance of the courthouse, through security. He was wearing a suit, dressed head to toe in black, and dark sunglasses. Security staff referred to him as “Mr Warner,” and he identified himself in court as “Brian Warner,” using a soft speaking voice.
He otherwise only answered “yes” to the judge’s questions asking if he understood the proceeding, and made no statement. Prosecutor Andrew Livernois said it was his first offense and he had no prior record.
Manson initially pleaded not guilty to both charges in 2021. He was scheduled to go to trial in August. His lawyer had said that the type of filming Fountain was doing commonly exposes videographers to “incidental contact” with bodily fluids.
“The defendant’s performance for the past twenty years are well known to include shocking and evocative antics similar to those that occurred here,” attorney Kent Barker wrote. “The alleged victim consented to exposing herself to potential contact with sweat, saliva and phlegm in close quarters.”
Barker also had said Manson planned to argue that any contact related to spitting or sneezing was unintentional.
If Manson had gone to trial on the charges, each could have resulted in a jail sentence of less than a year and a USD2,000 fine if convicted.
Manson emerged as a musical star in the mid-1990s, known as much for courting public controversy as for hit songs like “The Beautiful People” and hit album’s like 1996’s “Antichrist Superstar” and 1998’s “Mechanical Animals.”
In May, a California judge threw out key sections of Manson’s lawsuit against his former fiancee, “Westworld” actor Evan Rachel Wood, claiming she fabricated public allegations that he sexually and physically abused her during their relationship and encouraged other women to do the same. He is appealing the ruling.
Manson’s suit, filed last year, alleges that Wood and another woman named as a defendant, Illma Gore, defamed Manson, intentionally caused him emotional distress and derailed his career in music, TV and film.
Several women have sued Manson in recent years with allegations of sexual and other abuse. Most have been dismissed or settled, including a suit filed by “Game of Thrones” actor Esme Bianco.