Evan Rachel Wood denies allegations that she "manipulated" former Marilyn Manson accuser Ashley Morgan Smithline

Marilyn Manson
(Image credit: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

A Los Angeles judge has ruled that Marilyn Manson can not submit a statement from his former accuser Ashley Morgan Smithline as evidence in his defamation case against Evan Rachel Wood

Manson is suing his former fiancee Wood, and artist Illma Gore, described in legal papers as  Wood’s "on-again, off-again romantic partner", for defamation, claiming that the pair conspired “to publicly cast [him] as a rapist and abuser.”

Writing on Instagram in 2021, actress Wood publicly named Manson, real name Brian Warner, as her alleged abuser, claiming that Manson groomed her as a teenager and "horrifically abused" her for years.

“The name of my abuser is Brian Warner, also known to the world as Marilyn Manson,” Wood wrote. “He started grooming me when I was a teenager and horrifically abused me for years. I was brainwashed and manipulated into submission. I am done living in fear of retaliation, slander, or blackmail. I am here to expose this dangerous man and call out the many industries that have enabled him, before he ruins any more lives. I stand with the many victims who will no longer be silent.”

Wood subsequently went into detail about her alleged abuse in her HBO documentary Phoenix Rising.

In the wake of Wood's allegations, four more women, including Ashley Morgan Smithline, Game Of Thrones actress Esmé Bianco, and Manson's former assistant Ashley Walters, came forward with their own allegations of abuse against the singer.

In January it was revealed that Bianco and Manson had reached an out-of-court settlement for the sexual assault lawsuit she filed against him and his business.

“Ms. Bianco has agreed to resolve her claims against Brian Warner and Marilyn Manson Records, Inc. in order to move on with her life and career,” her lawyer, Jay Ellwanger, told Rolling Stone.

In May 2022 the case brought against Manson by Ashley Walters as dismissed by a Los Angeles Superior Court Judge on the grounds of the statute of limitations. And in early January this year a judge dismissed Ashley Morgan Smithline's lawsuit after the model/actress failed to appoint new legal representation, following her original lawyer's decision to withdraw from the case.

The story took another twist last month when Smithline recanted her original allegations against Manson, and claimed that Evan Rachel Wood “manipulated” her into speaking out against the singer.

This week Manson's legal team asked that Smithline's statement be submitted as evidence in his case against Wood, but a judge denied this request.

Now, according to Rolling Stone, Wood has drawn up a new legal declaration stating that she has screenshots of Instagram comments from Smithline along with text messages, DMs, and voicemails which will prove that Smithline's statements are "wholly unreliable."

In one of the screenshots Wood has submitted, Smithline claims that she was threatened by Marilyn Manson fans after speaking out against the musician.

"[I]t take a special kind of person to threaten rape and abuse victims with rape and abuse," Smithline wrote, later adding that the harassment she faced had been "relentless."

"The real pressure Smithline faced was not to make allegations against Plaintiff," says Wood, "it was to retract them."

"It is unsurprising that Evan Rachel Wood is desperately fighting to keep Ashley Smithline’s testimony out of court – because she knows the truth will expose her plot to manipulate the women who trusted her in order to destroy Brian Warner," Manson's lawyer Howard King says in a statement made to Rolling Stone. "Brian Warner never abused anyone. Ashley Smithline has told the truth. It’s sadly predictable that Evan Rachel Wood – someone who has already filed a forged FBI letter under oath in other court proceedings — remains committed to not doing the same."

Smithline told Rolling Stone, "Evan’s full of shit...She’s saying anything she can to discredit me."

Illma Gore's lawyers say, "It is ironic that Plaintiff now urges the importance of Ms. Smithline’s declaration and credibility after he himself called her a liar for two years."

Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Born in the North of Ireland, Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.