According to court records, Evan Rachel Wood has denied pressuring a former Marilyn Manson accuser into coming forward with accusations against Manson. She claims the accuser reached out to her on social media.
Ashley Morgan Smithline, who had sued Manson and accused him in public of abuse, submitted a declaration of support for Manson last week in his defamation action against Wood in Los Angeles County Superior Court. In the affidavit, Smithline claimed that Wood’s coercion was the only reason she publicly accused Manson of sexual assault and abuse.
In a defamation lawsuit last year, Manson, whose real name is Brian Warner, claimed that Wood had “secretly recruited, organized, and coerced” women to make abuse claims against him.
Wood claims that for years, Manson “horrifically abused” her.
He has pledged to fight the allegations and has denied any misconduct.
Wood also refuted accusations that she ever forced or compelled women to file lawsuits against Manson in the most recent court document. She said that Smithline got in touch with her in 2019, almost a year before Smithline claims Wood contacted her to arrange a meeting with other accusers.
Using Social Media to Communicate
Wood, who denies pressuring Smithline to level charges, submitted a document that she claims contains a screenshot of statements Smithline made on Instagram.
In particular, Wood stated in the complaint that on March 11, 2019, she “posted an Instagram post containing quotes about being a domestic abuse survivor from a podcast on which I had performed.” I had already testified before the US Congress about having survived abuse at the time, but I had not yet officially identified Mr. Warner as my abuser.
According to a statement Wood claimed to be Smithline’s, she was “hard hit” by Wood’s tweet.
According to the court document, the comment read: “while he held me imprisoned in the dumb ballet studio, I cringed hearing him boast about reproducing the scenario from rules of attraction to you… I assumed no one would ever talk about this.”
Wood also shared screenshots of Smithline’s Instagram direct chats, but it was no longer possible to identify the account because the communications looked to be from just an “Instagram User.” It’s unclear if Wood was blocked or if the account was terminated.
Nevertheless, in screenshots of the May 2021 communications that Wood claims were sent by Smithline, the user first inquires about Wood’s well-being before responding: “My airway is closed. I’m not making this up for any purpose.”
Smithline was addressed by Wood, who urged her to “sit” in her truth and resist being influenced by others.
Smithline, in her statement of support, said that after meeting with several women in October 2020, she felt “manipulated” into implicating Manson. When she spoke with Wood in 2020, she allegedly denied being mistreated, according to the legal filing.
According to Smithline’s complaint, “Ms. Wood told me that just because I could not remember something did not always indicate that it did not happen” when she responded, “No, this did not happen to me and this was not my experience.”
Wood said in her statement of objection that she had only ever seen Smithline in person once, during the encounter that was captured on camera for her HBO documentary “Phoenix Rising,” in October 2020. The only other times Wood claims she communicated to Smithline were through social media direct messages, including after Smithline made her accusations public in a magazine article.
I had never called Ms. Smithline before that encounter, according to Wood. “Ms. Smithline detailed the alleged assault that she said Mr. Warner had perpetrated upon her during the encounter in October 2020. Ms. Smithline has consistently claimed to me that Mr. Warner mistreated her.”
The claims made against Manson, in the words of his counsel, are “an organized campaign of #MeToo falsehoods.”
Public Claims Made by Smithline
In an interview with People magazine in May 2021, Smithline made a public accusation against Manson of physical, sexual, and psychological abuse. In 2021, she brought a federal complaint, charging Manson with sexual assault, human trafficking, and wrongful detention.
Smithline was accused of being whipped by Manson, having his initials carved onto her body, having her body penetrated while she was asleep, and other acts. The People article featured a picture of Smithline wearing a towel and displaying what seemed to be a scar on her thigh, which she said Manson had inflicted during the interview.
After the withdrawal of Smithline’s attorney, Jay Ellwanger, and her failure to reply to the court’s request for a decision about new counsel, a judge in January dismissed Smithline’s claim without prejudice.
Smithline’s evidence was challenged by Wood’s lawyers, who claimed that Manson’s legal team contacted her to get her to testify against Wood and other accusers.
Smithline’s voicemails to a friend in June are used by Wood’s attorneys to support their claim that Manson’s attorney sought to get Smithline to talk with Manson alone without any lawyers present.
Smithline is accused of having confided in the friend—whom Wood’s attorneys did not name—that she believed Manson’s counsel saw her as a “weak link” and that he “may try to settle with me to turn on the other ladies and claim that it was all, like, a farce.”
Since the plaintiff’s lawyers “clearly had no qualms about contacting Smithline when she was represented by counsel, it should come as no surprise that they kept up the pressure after her lawyer withdrew and her federal complaint was dismissed without prejudice,” Wood’s lawyer claimed.
In a statement released on Tuesday, Manson’s lawyer claimed that Wood’s opposition to Smithline’s testimony being admitted into evidence in the defamation action was not unexpected and that Smithline “has told the truth.”
“Until Ashley Smithline contacted me and fired her attorney, I never brought up Brian Warner’s allegations against him, “Howard King, an attorney, stated. “Moreover, we recorded the whole discussion when Ms. Smithline and I recently chatted for about two hours, demonstrating that all of the information in her declaration came from her words and not mine.
Requests for a response from a Smithline spokesperson were not immediately entertained. Wood was “full of s—-,” according to Smithline, who spoke to Rolling Stone.
That’s what I said, Smithline said. She is doing all in her power to discredit me.