The ongoing legal battle between shock rocker Marilyn Manson (Brian Werner) and actress Evan Rachel Wood won’t likely come to an end any time soon, as the latter released a statement refuting claims that the Westwood star “manipulated” another accuser into making false sexual assault allegations.
Just last week, actress Ashley Morgan Smithline filed a statement in court claiming that Wood pressured her into accusing Manson of heinous acts while they were dating. Though her case had been thrown out by a California district judge back in January due to a procedural issue, she claimed later that she “succumbed to pressure from Evan Rachel Wood and her associates to make accusations of rape and assault against Mr. Warner that were not true.”
At the time, Wood’s attorneys released a statement refuting Smithline’s claims, but Wood herself released a more directed response yesterday through a legal filing in which she references evidence she has that Smithline approached her about her original allegations. According to Rolling Stone, conversations she saved between herself and Smithline revealed the latter to be “wholly unreliable.”
“In Monday’s filing, obtained by Rolling Stone, Wood denied ever manipulating model Ashley Morgan Smithline and provided Instagram screenshots of comments from Smithline left on Wood’s Instagram in 2019, messages between Smithline and Wood where the model stood by her accusations against Manson, and a 2022 voicemail from Smithline to a friend in which she said she believed Manson’s attorney wanted her to ‘turn on the other girls and say it was all a ruse.’
“In the filing, Wood referred to a March 2019 comment in which Smithline ‘referenced information about my private experiences with Warner’ when Manson … allegedly abused Wood while ‘making her watch a particular scene from ‘Rules of Attraction.’”
It’s that last bit that stands out in particular to the outside observer, as Smithline made a comment on one of Wood’s social media posts back in 2019 where she referenced the same 2002 film that Wood referenced in her post. In it, she said she remembered being “held captive” in a ballet studio and feeling awkward when Manson allegedly bragged about replaying a particular scene in the movie to Wood.
Wood’s filing also included two voicemails from last June where Smithline told a friend that Manson’s attorney Howard King was trying to get her to retract her claims against his client.
“Don’t repeat this to anyone. I swear to God, don’t say this to anyone … but I did get a private message on my cellular telephone from Marilyn Manson’s lawyer saying, `I was wondering if we could just talk.’ The only reason he’d be calling me… is that he thinks I’m the weak link and he might want to settle with me to turn on the other girls and say that it was all a ruse.”
In the weeks following Smithline’s initial filing against Manson, she apparently told Wood that she’d been receiving death and rape threats from the rock star’s fans, saying that it takes “a special kind of person to threaten rape and abuse victims with rape and abuse…It’s been relentless.” Given the response we’ve gotten for simply reporting on this whole thing, that’s not surprising.
In Wood’s filing, she said that pressure from fans and other outside forces caused her to recant, calling it all into question.
“The real pressure Smithline faced was not to make allegations against Plaintiff—it was to retract them. Smithline’s declaration is therefore wholly unreliable.”
Another screenshot allegedly shows a message from King to Smithline in which the attorney says Manson wanted to talk to her, stating that “closure is important to Brian and he thinks you can help each other.”
Originally, Smithline accused him for the following
- Raping her multiple times, and one occasion telling her “You can’t rape someone that you’re in love with.”
- Multiple forms of physical assault, including biting, whipping, hitting, carving his initials into her thigh, cutting her stomach and drinking her blood (and then making her drink his), breaking her nose, and throwing a knife at her.
- Withholding food (she says she fell to under eighty pounds during their relationship).
- Sending Smithline to a glass box known as the “bad girls’ room” more than 100 times.
- Various forms of psychological abuse.
There have been multiple women who’ve come forth to make sexual assault and misconduct allegations against Manson. Most of them claim being held against their will and sexually assaulted at varying points in their relationship with the vocalist.
Rolling Stone apparently attempted to contact both King and Wood’s attorney for a comment, but didn’t hear back. They did, however, hear from Smithline, who simply said “Evan’s full of shit. That’s my comment. She’s saying anything she can to discredit me.”
Other cases against Manson are still pending, including an ongoing investigation at the state level where the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department forwarded its findings to the district attorney, who’s yet to announce or determine any outcome of those investigations.