Marilyn Manson has sensationally blamed the 1999 Columbine High School shooting for "destroying my entire career".
Teenagers Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris killed 12 students and one teacher at the Colorado school, before turning the guns on themselves. Following the tragedy, reports emerged that the shooters were fans of Manson's music.
It was even claimed that the duo were wearing Manson T-shirts when they embarked on the shooting rampage. And while these claims turned out to be untrue, Manson admitted during a new interview with Britain's The Guardian newspaper that they still had a drastic, negative effect on his career.
"Give them the money and let them make their own choice: guns or records. If (Klebold and Harris) had just bought my records, they would be better off," he said. "Certain people blame me for the shootings at schools - I think my numbers are low, and hopefully they go up on (my upcoming) record. But, honestly, the Columbine era destroyed my entire career at the time."
Manson's first album after the shooting, 2000's Holy Wood (In the Shadow of the Valley of Death), had disappointing sales for the star. And during an interview with Larry King in 2013, the singer admitted he knew the shooting would have an impact on his career when he heard the news.
"(I) was the best face to attach to at the time because I put myself in the role of villain. Because I think villains are the key to any good story," he said. "Before they were showing anything, they said a gang of kids wearing Marilyn Manson T-shirts shot up a school… I think I've been blamed for about 36 school shootings."
Now Manson is attempting to move on from the "Columbine era", and is gearing up to release his new album Heaven Upside Down. His interview with The Guardian also saw the controversial star exhibit some bizarre behaviour, including jumping out on the interviewer with a fake gun and flicking his questioner in the testicles.