In February 2021, Westworld star Evan Rachel Wood named Marilyn Manson as her alleged abuser.
“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,” she shared via Instagram on Feb 1. Wood and Manson had a relationship when the actress was 18 and Manson was 36, and the pair were briefly engaged in 2010.
Manson denied the allegations in his own Instagram statement. “Obviously, my art and my life have long been magnets for controversy, but these recent claims about me are horrible distortions of reality,” he wrote. “My intimate relationships have always been entirely consensual with like-minded partners. Regardless of how – and why – others are now choosing to misinterpret the past, that is the truth.”
Billboard made earlier attempts to reach Manson for comment through his now former management, but has not received any responses.
Following Wood’s statement, a number of other women went public with their own claims against Manson, but his history with abuse allegations stems back nearly 25 years. See below for a full timeline.
February 1998 – The Long Hard Road Out of Hell
Manson’s autobiography featured a number of anecdotes, which Chicago Reader critic Jim Derogatis called out at the time for “generally mistreating one or more women per page.” In a particularly gruesome chapter, “Meating the Fans / Meat and Greet,” Manson recalled a deaf fan who got covered in raw meat and had sex with a number of band members before getting urinated on by Manson and his bandmate.
While that encounter was presented as consensual by Manson, another anecdote featuring Nine Inch Nails‘ Trent Reznor stirred controversy. The chapter, which resurfaced online recently, details how Reznor and Manson allegedly physically and sexually assaulted an intoxicated woman in the ’90s.
On Feb. 3, 2021, Reznor issued a statement to denounce his onetime collaborator. “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 in his statement to 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.”
December 2001 – Assault and sexual misconduct charge
Manson was charged with assaulting security guard Joshua Keasler after he allegedly spit on the man’s head and rubbed his G-string-clad genital area on it during a concert at the DTE Energy Music Theatre in Clarkston, Michigan. He was accused of felony fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct along with misdemeanor assault and battery.
Manson pleaded no contest to disorderly conduct and received a $4,000 fine. He and the security guard eventually reached a settlement.
April 2002 – Wrongful death lawsuit
Following the death of actress Jennifer Syme, her mother Maria St. John sued Manson for wrongful death, alleging that he gave her drugs and encouraged her to drive while inebriated.
On his website, Manson shared a statement, calling the accusations “completely false.”
“Manson believes that the lawsuit is completely unfounded and is investigating an immediate counter-suit against St. John for slander, harassment and abuse of the legal process,” the statement read, according to Blabbermouth. “‘This lawsuit, which is completely without merit, will not bring back Jennifer’s life. It serves only to reopen the wounds and the pain felt by all who loved Jennifer. It is a pity that St. John sullies her own daughter’s reputation by filing this baseless claim.’”
“After Manson and his five guests finished an evening at the movies followed by a quiet get-together at his home, he made sure Syme received a safe ride home from a designated driver and went to sleep,” the statement concluded.
June 2009 – Spin interview
Following his first breakup from Wood in 2007, Manson revealed to Spin in an extensive Q&A that he severely self-harmed following their split. He also shared violent thoughts about the then-22-year-old Wood, and how his song “I Want to Kill You Like They Do in the Movies” is about the “fantasies” he had “every day about smashing her skull in with a sledgehammer.”
In November 2020, after Manson was asked about Wood’s domestic abuse testimonies in an interview with Metal Hammer, the singer hung up the phone. Manson’s team later released a statement claiming the “sledgehammer” comment was “obviously a theatrical rock star interview promoting a new record, and not a factual account. The fact that Evan and Manson got engaged six months after this interview would indicate that no one took this story literally.”
July 2009 – Violent threats against music journalists
In response to media scrutiny, Manson reportedly threatened music journalists in a since-deleted blog post. “I am far different than the soon-to-be-murdered-in-their-home press has decided to fabricate,” he wrote, according to The Guardian. “If one more ‘journalist’ makes a cavalier statement about me and my band, I will personally or with my fans’ help, greet them at their home and discover just how much they believe in their freedom of speech.”
October 2017 – Twiggy Ramirez allegations
Ramirez, Manson’s longtime bassist, was accused by Jack Off Jill singer Jessicka Addams of sexual and psychological abuse while they dated in the 1990s.
Following the allegations, Ramirez (real name Jeordie White) was removed from Manson’s touring party. Manson said in a statement announcing the exit that he “knew nothing about these allegations until very recently and am saddened by Jessicka’s obvious distress.”
In a statement to Pitchfork, Ramirez said that he had “only recently been made aware of these allegations from over 20 years ago,” and claimed, “I do not condone non-consensual sex of any kind.”
February 2018 – Charlyne Yi’s allegations
The House actress said in a since-deleted tweet that Manson was a “huge fan of the show,” and visited the cast while they were filming the final season, where he “harassed just about every woman asking us if we were going to scissor, rhino & called me a China man.”
“I genuinely hope he gets help,” she continued.
February 2018 – Wood testifies before Congress
In an effort to secure a bill of rights for sexual assault survivors in all 50 states, Wood detailed her personal experience, without naming names. “My experience with domestic violence was this,” she said, “the toxic mental, physical and sexual abuse which started slow but escalated over time, including threats against my life, severe gaslighting and brainwashing, waking up to the man that claimed to love me, raping what he believed to be my unconscious body.”
August 2018 – Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office declines to pursue a case against Manson
Manson had a police report filed against him at the height of the #MeToo movement for unspecified sex crimes dating back to 2011. The district attorney declined the case because the statute of limitations had expired and “absence of corroboration,” according to the court filing.
“Under current policy, the Los Angeles County District Attorney must investigate any claim of sexual abuse, no matter how outlandish. It is not surprising that the District Attorney, after investigation, summarily rejected the claims made in a police report filed by a former acquaintance against Brian Warner p/k/a Marilyn Manson,” the singer’s attorney, Howard E. King, Esq., said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter at the time. “The allegations made to the police were and are categorically denied by Mr. Warner and are either completely delusional or part of a calculated attempt to generate publicity for the claimant’s business of selling Manson memorabilia. The police report that spurred the investigation was accompanied by the woman’s press release and other attempts to generate publicity that fraudulently claimed she was held captive by Mr. Warner for 48 hours in 2011. Any claim of sexual impropriety or imprisonment at that, or any other, time is false.”
April 2019 – Wood testifies before a California State panel
Wood once more declined to name her abuser while detailing her experience with domestic violence. “The fear of being judged by society is debilitating and the fear of retaliation from my abuser is paralyzing,” she said. “I have been diagnosed with complex PTSD, including disassociation, panic attacks, night terrors, agoraphobia, impulse control, chronic pain in my body, among other symptoms.”
February 2021 – Wood names Manson as her abuser
On Feb. 1, 2021, Wood took to Instagram to share a statement. “The name of my abuser is Brian Warner, also known to the world as Marilyn Manson,” she 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.”
She continued, “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.”
Following her post, four other women came forward with similarly horrifying allegations against Manson, with their accounts shared by Vanity Fair.
February 2021 – Manson calls Wood’s claims “horrible distortions of reality”
The musician took to Instagram to deny the abuse claims. “Obviously, my art and my life have long been magnets for controversy, but these recent claims about me are horrible distortions of reality,” he wrote. “My intimate relationships have always been entirely consensual with like-minded partners. Regardless of how – and why – others are now choosing to misrepresent the past, that is the truth.”
February 2021 – Manson dropped by Loma Vista Recordings label, CAA and longtime manager Tony Ciulla
“In light of today’s disturbing allegations by Evan Rachel Wood and other women naming Marilyn Manson as their abuser, Loma Vista will cease to further promote his current album, effective immediately. Due to these concerning developments, we have also decided not to work with Marilyn Manson on any future projects,” the record label said in a statement.
Manson was also edited out of an episode of the Starz series American Gods, on which he has had a recurring role, while AMC’s Shudder service confirmed it will not be airing a segment of a forthcoming episode of its Creepshow TV series in which Manson appears.
Ciulla did not responded to Billboard’s request for comment.
February 2021 – Phoebe Bridgers voices support for the victims
The singer issued a trigger warning on Twitter before delving into her experience at his house when she was a teenager. “I went to Marilyn Manson’s house when I was a teenager with some friends. I was a big fan,” she tweeted. “He referred to a room in his house as the ‘r*pe room’, I thought it was just his horrible frat boy sense of humor. I stopped being a fan. I stand with everyone who came forward.”
She also alleged that “the label knew, management knew, the band knew” in a secondary tweet, though she didn’t specify names or exactly what they were aware of. “Distancing themselves now, pretending to be shocked and horrified is f—ing pathetic,” she wrote.
February 2021 – Wood shares more harrowing details
The actress wrote in an Instagram Story that she had to file a police report last year after becoming aware of a threat about the release of underage photos of herself.
“On Dec. 19, I had to file a police report after I was alerted to threats made by @leslee_lane and @lindsayusichofficial (Brian’s wife) for conspiring to release photos of me when I was UNDERAGE, after being given large amounts of drugs and alcohol, after Brian performed on Halloween in Las Vegas to ‘ruin my career’ and ‘shut me up,’” wrote the Westworld star.
She included a copy of the police report, with contact and personal information blacked out.
She also resurfaced a post which provided more details of what she experienced with Manson. “I was called a jew in a derogatory manner,” wrote Wood. “He would draw swastikas over my bedside table when he was mad at me. I heard the ‘n’ word over and over.”
She continued, “Everyone around him was expected to laugh and join in. If you did not or (god forbid) called him out, you were singled out and abused more. I have never been more scared in my life.”
February 2021 – Wolf Alice’s Ellie Rowsell shares her experience
“Solidarity to Evan Rachel Wood and those calling out Marilyn Manson,” Rowsell tweeted. “It’s sad to see people defending him, just because he put his depravity in plain sight doesn’t give him a free pass to abuse women?!”
“I met Marilyn backstage at a festival a few years ago,” she continued. “After his compliments towards my band became more and more hyperbolic I became suspicious of his behaviour. I was shocked to look down and see he was filming up my skirt with a gopro.”
“There were no repercussions for his behaviour,” she wrote, adding that a member of his tour staff said, “‘he does this kind of thing all the time.’”
February 2021 – Esme Bianco comes forward
The Game of Thrones actress detailed her relationship with Manson, whom she called a “monster who almost destroyed me and almost destroyed so many women” in a story in New York magazine on Feb. 10. In the piece, she alleged that during their years-long relationship, Manson assaulted her without consent in a music video shoot and during sex, rigidly set rules for her life and once chased her with an ax.
Two years after they began dating, Bianco moved in with him in 2011. During that time, she says he controlled her schedule, what she could wear, and once cut her with a knife and later sent an image of the injuries to his then-assistant and a bandmate. “I basically felt like a prisoner,” Bianco told New York. “I came and went at his pleasure. Who I spoke to was completely controlled by him. I called my family hiding in the closet,” she says.
The actress said she fled Manson’s apartment in June 2011, and later broke up with him. Manson’s lawyer did not respond to Bianco’s claims when reached by New York.
April 2021 – Bianco sues Manson
The actress accused the shock rocker of sexually assaulting her on various occasions, dating back to 2009, in a lawsuit filed April 30, 2021, and later amended in July that year. Bianco alleged in her filing that Manson “raped” her “in or around May 2011,” including times when she was “unconscious or otherwise unable to consent.”
May 2021 – Manson calls Bianco’s allegations “provably false”
On May 1, the Associated Press reported that Manson denied Bianco’s claims with a statement from attorney Howard E. King: “These claims are provably false. To be clear, this suit was only filed after my client refused to be shaken down by Ms. Bianco and her lawyer and give in to their outrageous financial demands based on conduct that simply never occurred. We will vigorously contest these allegations in court and are confident that we will prevail.”
May 2021 – Ex Ashley Morgan Smithline details alleged abuse
In a People cover story, Smithline went into detail about the alleged abuse she suffered while in a relationship with the rocker. “I survived a monster,” she told the magazine. Smithline claimed that Manson whipped her, cut her, sexually assaulted her and more. His spokesperson denied the allegations to the magazine.
May 2021 – Former personal assistant reportedly files complaint
Ashley Walters, who used to be the shock rocker’s personal assistant, reportedly filed a complaint against him on May 12 with the Superior Court of Los Angeles County. Her allegations included sexual assault, sexual harassment, sexual battery, and infliction of emotional distress.
May 2021 – Another ex sues for rape
Another ex of Manson’s filed suit against the rocker on May 28, alleging he raped her and subjected her to “degrading acts of sexual exploitation, manipulation, and psychological abuse.” A member of his team “strongly denies the accusations” in Doe’s lawsuit.
June 2021 – Smithline sues for rape and human trafficking
Smithline becomes the fourth woman to file a lawsuit against the shock rocker. In court documents, she accuses Manson of sexual assault, sexual battery, human trafficking, unlawful imprisonment and more. She and her lawyer appeared on The View the following day to discuss the suit. “Very early on, he made it clear that my life was definitely in danger and that he could kill me at any time,” she told the panel. “I was afraid all the time that he would end my life.”
July 2021 – Manson files to dismiss Bianco’s suit
In court documents obtained by Billboard, the musician’s attorney, citing the statute of limitations, argued to dismiss the Game of Thrones actress’ lawsuit. The filing also calls her allegations “untrue, meritless,” claiming they are a “coordinated attack by multiple plaintiffs.”
September 2021 – Judge dismisses accuser’s rape lawsuit
A California state judge dismissed the lawsuit filed by a Jane Doe — who accused the shock rocker of rape — because the two-year statute of limitations had passed, and noted that her allegations of the repressed memories were “not sufficient” to invoke the “delayed-discovery” rule. Doe was given a 20-day window to amend and refile her complaint, which she has done.
November 2021 – Manson’s home raided
Los Angeles law enforcement searched the rocker’s home after obtaining a warrant. The L.A. County sheriff’s department did not provide further details.
January 2022 – New alleged abuse details from Evan Rachel Wood
In the documentary Phoenix Rising — Part One: Don’t Fall, which premiered at Sundance, the actress recounts the alleged abuse, claiming that Manson drugged her and then raped her while they filmed the music video for his song “Heart-Shaped Glasses.”
Manson has continued to deny her allegations of abuse. His attorney, Howard King told Billboard in a statement, “Of all the false claims that Evan Rachel Wood has made about Brian Warner, her imaginative retelling of the making of the ‘Heart-Shaped Glasses’ music video 15 years ago is the most brazen and easiest to disprove, because there were multiple witnesses. Evan was not only fully coherent and engaged during the three-day shoot but also heavily involved in weeks of pre-production planning and days of post-production editing of the final cut. The simulated sex scene took several hours to shoot with multiple takes using different angles and several long breaks in between camera setups. Brian did not have sex with Evan on that set, and she knows that is the truth.”
March 2022 – Manson sues Evan Rachel Wood
On March 2, the shock rocker filed a defamation lawsuit against his ex-fiancee, calling her allegations of sexual abuse against him a “malicious falsehood.” He claims that her “organized attack” is why he has been accused by multiple women of sexual misconduct since the actress’ first named him as her alleged abuser in a February 2021 Instagram post.
“This detailed complaint has been filed to stop a campaign of malicious and unjustified attacks on Brian Warner,” his attorney, Howard King, told Billboard in a statement, adding that the evidence of wrongdoing by Wood is “irrefutable.”
May 2022 – Former assistant’s abuse lawsuit dismissed
On May 25, a Los Angeles Superior Court judge dismissed a lawsuit against Manson filed by his former personal assistant Ashley Walters. The documents, received by Billboard, cite the statute of limitations as the reason for dismissal, as the incidents occurred in 2010 and 2011.
The judge dismissed the case with prejudice, prohibiting Walters from refiling the charges. Walters originally filed her lawsuit against Manson in May 2021, alleging sexual assault, sexual battery, sexual harassment and intentional infliction of emotional distress, among other claims. She also named Warner’s label, Marilyn Manson Records Inc., as a co-defendant.
January 2023 – Judge dismisses Smithline’s lawsuit
A federal judge tossed out Smithline’s lawsuit on Jan. 3, citing the fact that she failed to retain a new lawyer after splitting with her old legal team last fall.
Judge Fernando L. Aenlle-Rocha dismissed the case. After Smithline split with her attorney Jay D. Ellwanger in October, the judge gave her until Dec. 5 to find a new lawyer — or to explain how she’d handle the case on her own as a so-called pro se litigant. She never did either, leading to the decision.
January 2023: Manson & Bianco reach settlement to end her suit
In a Jan. 24 filing made in Los Angeles federal court, attorneys for both parties informed the judge that the rocker and the Game of Thrones actress had “reached an agreement in principle” to “resolve” the case. Bianco’s lawyer Jay D. Ellwanger confirmed to Billboard that she had “agreed to resolve her claims … in order to move on with her life and career.” An attorney for Manson did not immediately return a request for comment.
January 2023 – Sexual Assault Lawsuit From a Minor
The suit by the woman — identified anonymously as “Jane Doe” in the filing — alleges that the singer, now 54, groomed and sexually assaulted the then-underage girl during the early portion of his career.
The suit says Doe, then 16, first met Manson in 1995 after a show in Dallas when she waited outside his tour bus and the singer invited her and “one of the other younger girls” onto his tour bus where he allegedly asked for their ages and school grades while jotting down their phone numbers and addresses.
“While on the tour bus, Defendant Warner performed various acts of criminal sexual conduct upon Plaintiff, who was a virgin at the time, including but not limited to forced copulation and vaginal penetration,” the lawsuit claims. At the time, the age of consent in Texas was (and still is) 17 and the suit notes that one of Manson’s band members watched “Defendant Warner sexually assault Plaintiff… Plaintiff was in pain, scared, upset, humiliated and confused. After he was done, Defendant Warner laughed at her. … Then Defendant Warner demanded Plaintiff to ‘get the f–k off of my bus’ and threatened Plaintiff that, if she told anyone, he would kill her and her family.”
February 2023 – Ashley Morgan Smithline Recants
Manson’s lawyers filed a statement from accuser Smithline on Feb. 23, in which Smithline recanted her allegations and claimed that she had been “manipulated” by Evan Rachel Wood and others, and that she had “spread publicly false accusations of abuse” against the shock rocker.
“I succumbed to pressure from Evan Rachel Wood and her associates to make accusations of rape and assault against Mr. Warner that were not true,” Smithline wrote in the sworn statement. “Eventually, I started to believe that what I was repeatedly told happened to Ms. Wood and [others] also happened to me.”
September 2023 – Manson Settles Rape Lawsuit
Manson settled a rape lawsuit filed against him in June 2021 by a Jane Doe accuser, a week before the case was scheduled to go to trial. “Brian is pleased that, just as previous lawsuits were abandoned without payment or settled for pennies on the dollar, this plaintiff has now agreed to drop her suit in exchange for an insurance payment representing a fraction of her demands and far less than the cost to Brian of proceeding to trial,” the musician’s attorney Howard King said in a statement.
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