Protests in Denver Over Marilyn Manson Gig

ByABC News
June 21, 2001, 7:37 AM

D E N V E R, June 21 -- Marilyn Manson is to perform at Denver's Mile High Stadium today an event that has not gone unnoticed by local parents who say the shock rocker influenced the two teens who carried out the 1999 massacre at nearby Columbine High School.

Citizens for Peace and Respect, an organization made up of local citizens, churches and Columbine families dedicated to preventing "the negative influence of Marilyn Manson," rallied Wednesday night to protest the performance.

In addition to organizing protests, the group is giving away tickets to a local amusement park to encourage kids to stay away from Manson's performance, scheduled for today as part of Ozzy Osbourne's "Ozzfest" rock festival at Mile High Stadium.

But it's hardly a city united in protest: the anti-Manson rally competed with one held in support of the singer, and a number of shooting victims and relatives have come forward in support of the show.

Columbine Families, Victims Divided Over Manson

Protest leader and youth pastor Jason Janz told local media several Columbine families have joined his cause. Like Mark Taylor Jr., who was injured in the shootings.

"Kids, when they go to these concerts, they look up to these people," Taylor told the Rocky Mountain News. "I admire the people I listen to."

"We need to stop worrying about what comes out of our children and we need to start worrying about what goes into them," Dale Todd, whose son Evan was injured in the shootings, told the paper.

But a spokesman for the family of one victim said the singer should be welcomed.

"I don't think it's up to Marilyn Manson to instill a values system in our children," Sam Riddle, spokesman for the family of victim Isaiah Shoels, told the Rocky Mountain News. "I think Marilyn Manson should be welcome to Denver and he ought to rock it."

And Angela Sanders, whose father was killed in the massacre, says she likes Manson's music.

"I will always listen to Marilyn Manson and I will continue to support him as long as I need to," Sanders told ABCNEWS. "It's very sad to me to see that Columbine had to be brought into this issue at all. Columbine and Marilyn Manson are completely, totally, separate issues."