Kanye West Faces Backlash After Bringing Marilyn Manson and DaBaby on Stage: 'Gross'
During Thursday's event fans were left puzzled and upset when Manson, 52, appeared on the porch of a replica of West's childhood home onstage during the listening party at Chicago's Soldier Field. A spokesperson for Manson tells PEOPLE that the singer's voice is featured on the new album.
"Marilyn Manson's voice is featured on Donda, and he will continue to conceptually collaborate with Ye on the Donda project," the spokesperson said.
At the same time, DaBaby, who apologized last month after making misinformed comments about the LGBTQ community and HIV, stood on the front porch steps to perform his verse on the song "Jail," which seemed to replace Jay-Z's surprise verse.
Thursday's listening party did not require the thousands of fans in attendance to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or provide proof of a negative test, and a Chicago Park District spokeswoman said the venue's reduced capacity emphasized the city's commitment to health and safety protocol amid the ongoing pandemic.
Manson — who is facing four sexual abuse lawsuits and has been accused by more than 15 women of sexual assault — did not perform at the Donda listening event. His appearance, however, baffled fans, with many taking to Twitter to ask why the controversial figure was there.
"No seriously someone explain to me why Marilyn Manson is standing next to Kanye in this listening party," one tweet read.
"Can't believe people are genuinely believing Kanye trying [to] 'prove a point' which completely excuses what Marilyn Manson has done to several women. this isn't about cancel culture and letting people learn, because when you have done what Marilyn has done YOU SHOULD BE IN JAIL," wrote another social media user.
Others even slammed West, 44, as "evil" for having Manson at the event. "Kanye West is an evil spirit. DaBaby is one thing but sick ass Marilyn Manson?????? I told y'all about this man and y'all never listen," the tweet expressed.
"He's ridiculous of course Kanye wants any attention good or bad not sure how anyone would publicly support this man after Evan Rachel wood opened about what happened to her," another social media user tweeted.
"Kanye hanging out with Marilyn Manson on the stream is gross, not a good vibe," a different Twitter user wrote.
Manson and West have previously crossed paths. The rapper and the rocker were linked in 2013 by heavy speculation that West's "Black Skinhead" single sampled Manson's "The Beautiful People."
In the last year, Manson has been sued for sexual assault by four women: ex Ashley Morgan Smithline, actress Esmé Bianco, his former assistant Ashley Walters and a woman who did not disclose her identity.
Responding to Esmé Bianco's sexual abuse lawsuit this summer, Manson called her allegations "untrue, meritless and a key component of a coordinated attack." And in February, he called the abuse allegations "horrible distortions of reality." He has denied all the other accusations.
The rocker was also jailed on assault charges stemming from a New Hampshire concert in 2019 in which he allegedly spat and "shot his snot" at a camerawoman. In July, he turned himself into the Hollywood division of Los Angeles Police Department after reaching a deal with Gilford Police Department in New Hampshire regarding two Class A misdemeanor simple assault charges. That same day, the singer was released on personal recognizance bail. Manson's attorney also denied the claims, telling PEOPLE in a statement "It is no secret to anyone who has attended a Marilyn Manson concert that he likes to be provocative on stage, especially in front of a camera" and alleged that his accuser tried to extort $35,000 from Manson before she took it to law enforcement.
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Aside from allegations of sexual abuse, Smithline accused Manson of having an affinity for Nazi memorabilia — including whips, knives and throwing stars — and making racist remarks about her Jewish background.
"He kind of made it like this is just like a joke between us," she told PEOPLE earlier this year. "I think at that point, I was already coerced enough that I felt he would not like me if I didn't bring those things. If I'd known the weapons would be used on me, I think it would have felt a lot stranger."
Several of the other women who've accused the singer of sexual abuse have also claimed hearing him use anti-Semitic language. Manson also previously released a cover of "Rock N Roll N—r" by Patti Smith.
Manson also said in a 2014 interview that racism is a "stupid, made up word."
Manson has not specifically responded to the allegations.
While Manson's appearance at the Donda listening event on Thursday night was wrapped up in controversy, DaBaby's verse on "Jail" was also worth noting.
In July, the rapper shared offensive remarks about the LGBTQ community and made misinformed comments about HIV and AIDS — leading to the loss of some celebrity relationships and being disinvited to perform at an array of music festivals, including Lollapalooza in Chicago and the forthcoming Governors Ball in New York City. He has since apologized.
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, please contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or go to rainn.org.