U.S. shock rocker Marilyn Manson is the target of a criminal inquiry in Switzerland, after a religious group made a formal complaint about his stage act.
Zurich District Prosecutor Michael Scherrer told The Associated Press on Tuesday that the artist was under investigation for allegedly breaching Swiss law protecting religion as well as making incitements to violence during a concert in the city in February 2001.
Manson – whose real name is Brian Warner – and his band members take their first names from pop culture icons and their surnames from famous serial killers. He also uses the sobriquet “Antichrist Superstar,” and is known for his ghastly, cadaverous look and macabre lyrics.
Baptized as a Satanist and an honorary priest in the Church of Satan, Manson has ripped a Bible during previous stage shows.
His act has made him the target of religious and conservative groups around the world, including the Swiss-based Christians For Truth, which lodged the complaint.
Scherrer said he interviewed Manson ahead of another sellout concert Sunday at a Zurich stadium, part of the artist’s ongoing European tour. Christian groups and lawmakers in Zurich had tried unsuccessfully to have the latest concert banned on grounds that Manson’s views were offensive to a majority of the population.
The rocker rejected the accusations, Scherrer said. Manson cited artistic freedom and said his act was meant to provoke a debate about violence and religion, the official added.
Scherrer said he had yet to decide whether to charge Manson.