Lightbox is in production on a three-part documentary series co-financed by Channel 4 and Fifth Season examining the recent controversy around the rock star Marilyn Manson.
Marilyn Manson: Behind the Mask (w/t) charts the musician’s rise to fame, significance and role as a counterculture icon. The series examines the recent accusations against Manson and his ability to court controversy all while exploring how high-profile sexual assault allegations play out in today’s post #Metoo era.
Marilyn Manson: Behind the Mask (w/t) is being produced in partnership with Rolling Stone Films, with Fifth Season also handling worldwide distribution rights and launching the series to buyers at MIPCOM 2023.
From the moment Brian Warner launched his alter-ego, Marilyn Manson, in the early 1990s, he set out to shock. Over the next two decades his carefully cultivated, highly controversial persona became iconic around the world. His fans and liberal cultural commentators justified his shocking lyrics, behaviour and concerts, as a form of social or political satire. Many placed Manson at the centre of a culture war, particularly following the Columbine school shootings, for which conservative commentators claimed he was partially responsible, an accusation he stridently denied. This had many people asking the question whether he should be cancelled as a performer for corrupting America’s youth, or if his freedom should be defended as an artist.
In February 2021 several women accused Brian Warner of sexual assault and within 24 hours he was dropped by his manager, his agent and his record company. Later the same year, an explosive Rolling Stone article laid bare a stream of allegations from multiple women. The allegations led to a police raid and criminal investigation into Manson. In total, five of his accusers launched civil lawsuits against him claiming sexual assault and other charges, with retractions and out of court settlements evidencing the complex and multi-faceted nature of this type of allegation. To date, no charges have been made but civil cases are pending.
Marilyn Manson: Behind the Mask (w/t) delves into the unfolding story, of which Rolling Stone’s ongoing investigation is a part, and asks questions about this moment in the culture, where Marilyn Manson is fighting to defend himself against allegations from women who have recently accused him of abusive behaviour that happened many years ago and which he and his lawyers argue were entirely consensual, or simply did not happen.
Marilyn Manson: Behind the Mask (w/t) has access to several of the accusers, lifelong fans, industry insiders, lawyers, a former band mate and his childhood best friend. The series charts his rise to fame from a difficult childhood, through vilification and death threats to being championed as an advocate for those on the fringes of society and closely examines the fallout of the allegations for both the accusers and the accused. It includes exclusive audio recordings of interviews with Rolling Stone alongside archive footage and never-before-seen photographs, to provide a first-hand portrait of one of the most controversial musicians of the twenty-first century.
Suzanne Lavery, SVP Unscripted, Lightbox says: “Marilyn Manson: Behind the Mask (w/t) tells the definitive story of the controversy surrounding the star, charting his career from its early days through to his being dropped by his manager, agent and record label as a result of the allegations made against him. In first hand testimony, we hear intimate accounts from his accusers, as well as those who robustly refute their allegations. The series asks timely questions about how the music industry draws the line between rock n roll excess and transgressive behaviour and examines whether Manson’s constructed persona reflects the reality of the human being behind the performer, and what the future holds for the freedom of expression and the right to shock.”
Sacha Mirzoeff, Senior Commissioner Documentaries, Head of Bristol Hub, added: “Brian Warner, better known as Marilyn Manson, has made a lifetime career of stomping where others fear to tread. His transgressive rock persona was largely espoused until multiple questions about his private behaviour emerged. This three-part series directed by Karen McGann examines his life, career and sets the recent abuse allegations into context of the times then and the times now through the voices of the accusers and Manson’s allies. The result is a shocking portrayal of the different accounts of what went on and how much society, the world of music and celebrity has changed in the last generation.”
“Rolling Stone broke the story about Marilyn Manson’s alleged abuse and this series takes a step back to explore those allegations in the wider context of Manson’s career, his meteoric rise as the self-proclaimed ‘Antichrist Superstar’ and the controversy surrounding his recent fall from grace. We are proud to partner with Lightbox to tell this fascinating and complex story,” said Gus Wenner, CEO Rolling Stone.
Marilyn Manson: Behind the Mask (w/t) is a Lightbox and Rolling Stone Films Production for Channel 4 in association with Fifth Season and Media Finance Capital. For Lightbox, the series director is Karen McGann, the series producer is Zoe Jewell, Nic Preston is line producer, Selina Ferguson is production executive, and the executive producers are Simon Chinn, Jonathan Chinn and Suzanne Lavery. Jason Fine and Gus Wenner are executive producers for Rolling Stone Films. It was commissioned by Sacha Mirzoeff at Channel 4. Fifth Season has worldwide distribution rights.
photo credit @CultCoInc
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