Evan Rachel Wood Denies She Manipulated Marilyn Manson Accuser Ashley Morgan Smithline
Actress Evan Rachel Wood has refuted the latest claims by former Marilyn Manson accuser Ashley Morgan Smithline (AKA Ashley Lindsay Morgan) that Wood "manipulated" her into making accusations of sexual assault and abuse against the musician.
Two years ago, Wood named Manson as her alleged abuser. Four others — Smithline, Sarah McNeilly, Ashley Walters and a woman named Gabriella — joined in sharing separate accusations against him. Subsequent accusers included the actress Esmé Bianco.
Last year, Manson, the rock singer whose real name is Brian Warner, sued Wood, his ex-fiancée, for defamation, claiming she formed a conspiracy against him.
Now, after a sworn Feb. 23 statement from Smithline claimed she was "manipulated by Ms. Wood" to agree to "spread publicly false accusations of abuse" against Manson, Wood has struck back with her own legal filing. It claims Smithline's declaration is "wholly unreliable," per Rolling Stone, which reported evidence of their early correspondence about the matter Feb. 28:
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.'
"When he had me captive in the stupid ballet studio, I cringed hearing him brag about replaying that scene from rules of attraction to you," a comment from Smithline reportedly said on a 2019 post Wood made. “I thought no one would ever talk about this."
Was Smithline Manipulated?
Indeed, Smithline's Feb. 23 filing said the allegations she made were untrue and that she was "manipulated" by Wood. But the "real pressure Smithline faced was not to make allegations against Plaintiff — it was to retract them," Wood's filing asserts.
However, Smithline maintained 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," in her declaration. "I started to believe that what I was repeatedly told happened to Ms. Wood and [others] also happened to me."
Wood's spokesperson denied Smithline's accusations. "Evan never pressured or manipulated Ashley," they replied, saying Smithline "first contacted Evan about the abuse she had suffered. It's unfortunate that the harassment and threats Ashley received … appear to have pressured her to change her testimony."
The Allegations Against Manson
Manson has refuted all allegations. "My art and my life have long been magnets for controversy, but these recent claims about me are horrible distortions of reality," he said in 2021. "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 year, Smithline sued him and spoke to People about her claims. A judge dismissed the lawsuit in 2023.
Smithline Took Back Accusation
As summarized by Billboard, Smithline claimed she was initially contacted by other alleged victims, but that when she denied abuse occurred to her, she was told repeatedly she might not remember it. Once Smithline agreed to participate, she said that Illma Gore, an associate of Wood's, drafted her accusation statement.
"Leading up to the filing of the complaint, I felt pressured … to go on a press tour, which included an interview on The View and an interview and photoshoot," Smithline said. "I was very uncomfortable doing this press but felt pressured to do it." Smithline also claimed she didn't receive money from Manson.
See a timeline of the allegations under the video.
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, resources are available to help. Please visit RAINN (the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network) online or dial 1-800-656-HOPE (800-656-4673).