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Marilyn Manson sues Evan Rachel Wood over abuse claims ahead of documentary premiere

By | Published on Thursday 3 March 2022

Marilyn Manson

Marilyn Manson has filed a lawsuit against Evan Rachel Wood, accusing his former partner of defamation. The legal action comes ahead of the TV premiere of new documentary ‘Phoenix Rising’ on HBO, in which Wood makes various allegations of sexual abuse against the musician.

In the lawsuit, Manson – real name Brian Warner – accuses Wood and her “on-again, off-again” partner Illma Gore of framing him as “a rapist and abuser – a malicious falsehood that has derailed Warner’s successful music, TV and film career”.

He also accuses Wood and Gore of “falsifying and spreading” allegations against him, as well as “forging and distributing a fictitious letter from the [FBI], to create the false appearance” that he was under federal investigation. As well as this, he accuses Gore of trying to hack into his computer, phone and email, and that she created fake email addresses to make claims against the musician.

In a statement to Rolling Stone, Manson’s attorney Howard King says: “Even though HBO and the producers have been made aware of these serious acts of misconduct, they have thus far chosen to proceed [with plans to air the documentary] without regard for the facts. But the evidence of wrongdoing by Wood and Gore is irrefutable – and this legal action will hold them to account”.

Wood has spoken about her experiences of abuse a number of times over the years, but had never specifically named Manson until February last year, when she said in a post on Instagram: “The name of my abuser is Brian Warner, also known to the world as Marilyn Manson”.

“He started grooming me when I was a teenager and horrifically abused me for years”, she went on. “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”.

This followed the release of Manson’s last album, after which people online began linking Wood’s previous comments of abuse to the musician. Since she spoke out, a number of other women have made claims about their treatment by Manson, with four filing lawsuits against him.

Manson has denied all the claims made by all of his accusers, claiming that this is all part of a “coordinated attack” attempting to convince people that the ‘shock rock’ character he plays on stage is who he is in real life.

In the new lawsuit, Manson alleges that Wood and Gore “provided checklists and scripts to prospective accusers, listing the specific alleged acts of abuse that they should claim against Warner”.

Although Wood has not joined others in filing her own lawsuit, she does go into detail about her accusations against Manson in the new documentary, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January. The two part film is set to get its first TV airing in the US on HBO later this month.

Earlier this year, director Amy Berg said of the film: “It wasn’t [originally] about Marilyn Manson and his whole world. This was about an Erin Brockovich story. We were really focused on telling a story about empowerment, something that would offer resources for women and men who are stuck in abusive situations. And that was what we were making – until she decided to name him publicly. [However,] naming Manson obviously created a lot more story for us”.

Since Wood named Manson and the other accusations came to light, Manson has lost many professional relationships and jobs – having been dropped by his label and agent, and cut from acting roles. For his defamation claim to be successful, he will have to prove that he has been financially harmed by Wood’s allegations, and these losses will form the core part of his argument.

Manson is requesting a jury trial to consider his legal action, which specifically accuses Wood of inflicting emotional distress upon him, violation of the Comprehensive Computer Data And Access Fraud Act, and impersonation over the internet.