The Nine Inch Nails mastermind served as a mentor to Manson in the early part of his career. Reznor signed Manson’s band to his record label, produced their first two studio albums, and invited them to open for NIN on tour. However, their relationship eventually frayed; Manson accused Reznor of destroying the band’s masters, Reznor said excessive use of drugs and alcohol had turned Manson into “a dopey clown.”
But with Manson now facing accusations of sexual assault, psychological abuse, and coercion by at least five women, some have begun to question Reznor’s own knowledge of and involvement in Manson’s activities. In particular, a passage from Manson’s 1998 biography which details an alleged incident involving the two has resurfaced on social media.
According to Pitchfork, the passage in question allegedly stems from an unpublished interview with Empyrean Magazine from 1995. The interview was never published due to “content objections on the part of Empyrean’s publisher, Centaur Enterprises, which believed that the magazine had followed unethical interview procedures in order to extract information from Mr. Manson.” Instead, Manson and co-author Neil Strauss included it in their 1998 book The Long Hard Road Out of Hell.
In the passage, Manson details an incident in which “me and the young Trent Reznor poked our fingers into the birth cavity” of a heavily intoxicated woman.
In a new statement, Reznor clarified his relationship with Manson while denying the incident in question. “I have been vocal over the years about my dislike of Manson as a person and cut ties with him nearly 25 years ago,” Reznor said (via Pitchfork). “As I said at the time, the passage from Manson’s memoir is a complete fabrication. I was infuriated and offended back when it came out and remain so today.”
In a 2009 interview with Mojo magazine, Reznor expanded on his falling out with Manson, saying, “He is a malicious guy and will step on anybody’s face to succeed and cross any line of decency. … His drive for success and self-preservation was so high, he pretended to be f**ked up a lot when he wasn’t.”
It’s widely believed that NIN’s “Starfuckers, Inc.” was written about Manson and Courtney Love, even though Manson himself appeared in and co-directed the song’s music video.
In 2017, Manson claimed that he and Reznor had reconciled. “We had sort of mended ways after a long time through [Manson collaborator and producer] Tyler Bates strangely enough,” Manson told Zane Lowe at the time. “He goes and he said in the email something along the lines of, ‘It really pisses me off that music’s not dangerous anymore and it reminds me of how great you were and I was and the time, the era.”