Woman Drops Charges Against Marilyn Manson in Ongoing Sexual Assault Case

A woman who initially sued Marilyn Manson for sexual assault has dropped her charges against the rocker. In a new legal filing, model Ashley Morgan Smithline recanted her claims against the artist and stated that the allegations she originally brought against Manson, real name Brian Warner, were untrue. Smithline said that she was “manipulated” by Warner’s ex-girlfriend, actress Evan Rachel Wood, in a sworn statement.

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On Feb. 23, lawyers for Warner, who are in the process of suing Wood for allegedly orchestrating an “organized attack” of false sexual assault accusations against the artist, filed a statement with Smithline’s new claim.

In her statement, Smithline claimed that she was “manipulated by Ms. Wood” and others to the point that she agreed to “spread publicly false accusations of abuse” against Warner.

“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,” wrote Smithline. “Eventually, I started to believe that what I was repeatedly told happened to Ms. Wood and (others) also happened to me.”

She added that she initially denied any abuse by Warner after being contacted by other alleged victims, and was told by them that she may have forgotten what happened to her.

“While at first, I knew Mr. Warner did not do these things to me, I eventually began to question whether he actually did,” wrote Smithline. “On numerous occasions, I was told … that I may just be misremembering what happened, repressing my memories of what happened, or that my memories had not yet surfaced—which they said happened to people against whom these acts were perpetrated.”

A spokesperson for Wood denied the allegations. “Evan never pressured or manipulated Ashley,” read their statement. “It was Ashley who first contacted Evan about the abuse she had suffered. It’s unfortunate that the harassment and threats Ashley received after filing her federal lawsuit appear to have pressured her to change her testimony.”

Smithline originally filed a case against Warner in June 2021, suing him for sexual assault and battery, unlawful imprisonment, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Her case was recently dismissed after she fired her lawyer and did not meet the deadline to acquire new representation for herself in court.

In her recent statement, Smithline also said that she “never received any money” from Warner as a settlement agreement and that she doesn’t intend to refile her case against him.

Warner denied all the allegations presented by Smithline and multiple women who have also accused the singer of sexual and physical abuse since 2021. “As we have always said, the coordinated campaign of #MeToo lies against Brian Warner is going to go down as one of the greatest hoaxes of all time,” said Warner’s attorney Howard King in a statement, adding that Smithline’s statement proves that the accusations against Warner are untrue. “Vulnerable women were manipulated by unscrupulous individuals seeking to build their own brands and pursue their own vendettas.”

In February of 2021, an investigation into Warner began after Wood, who dated the singer when she was 18 and he was 36, revealed on social media that she was abused by him for years during their relationship. Warner later filed a defamation lawsuit against Wood in March 2022.

Following Wood’s accusations, several other women came forward alleging that they also suffered physical and sexual abuse by Warner with several filing individual civil lawsuits.

Model Sarah McNeilly claims that Manson “tortured” her, locked her in rooms, and threw her against a wall. Ashley Walters also said that she experiences PTSD from her abusive relationship with Manson, while a woman named “Gabriella” also accused Manson of abuse, and said that he cut her during sex and took photos of her nude without her permission. Game of Thrones actress Esme Bianco, and at least one additional individual, who wants to remain anonymous, have also issued similar allegations against Warner.

The Los Angeles County district attorney’s office continues to weigh whether to press criminal charges against Warner, following the sexual abuse investigation conducted by the county sheriff’s department. 

Photo by Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images

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