Marilyn Manson Accuser Recants, Claims Evan Rachel Wood Pressured Her to Make Allegations

One of the women who had sued Marilyn Manson of sexual assault is taking back her allegations in a new court filing acquired by Billboard. Ashley Morgan Smithline is now claiming that Evan Rachel Wood and others manipulated her into making the allegations in the first place.

Manson, whose real name is Brian Warner, has denied the allegations and in March 2022 filed suit against his ex-girlfriend, Wood, and Illma Gore for what he calls an “organized attack” of false accusations against him. It was his lawyers that filed Smithline’s amended statement on Thursday.

In the new legal filing, Smithline claims that she only accused Manson of sexual assault after she’d felt pressured and “repeatedly gaslit” by Wood and others.

She now says her previous accusations are “false” and that she and Manson had a “brief, consensual sexual relationship” in 2010. Smithline said she was contacted ten years later to take part in a group meeting of women who had also had “relationships or experiences” with Manson.

“Looking back, I feel I was manipulated … to spread publicly false accusations of abuse against Mr. Warner,” Smithline wrote in her new filing. “I succumbed to pressure from Evan Rachel Wood and her associates to make accusations of rape and assault against [Manson] that were not true.”

Wood denied Smithline’s allegations through a representative in a statement received by People. “Evan never pressured or manipulated Ashley. It was Ashley who first contacted Evan about the abuse she had suffered,” read the statement. “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 claimed that Wood asked her if she’d been “among other things, whipped, chained, tied up, branded/cut, assaulted while sleeping, beaten, or raped.” According to Smithline, Wood said that these things had happened to her and others.

“When I said, no this did not happen to me and this was not my experience, I recall being told by Ms. Wood that just because I could not remember did not necessarily mean that it did not happen,” Smithline wrote.

According to Smithline, she went from being certain that Manson “did not do these things” to questioning “whether he actually did.” She said that she was told, “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.”

Smithline continued, writing that she eventually “started to believe” that she had been abused. She stated as much in a February Instagram post and in a series of media interviews, but now says that the civil complaint she filed in June 2021 “contained untrue statements.”

Smithline’s suit was dismissed without prejudice in January when she failed to decide to either represent herself or hire a new attorney after her attorney, Jay Ellwanger, left. In her new filing, she alleges that Ellwanger pressured her to do the press tour with her allegations. She also claims he filed the suit before she had even seen it.

In a statement received by NBC News, Ellwanger said that client confidentiality constrained his response, but did note, “What I can say is that the specific allegations regarding my representation of Ms. Smithline are categorically and verifiably false.”

In a response to Smithline’s newest legal document, Manson’s attorney Howard King asserted, “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. Vulnerable women were manipulated by unscrupulous individuals seeking to build their own brands and pursue their own vendettas.”

Wood has denied the allegations in Manson’s suit and through her attorney accused him of filing it in retaliation for her going public with her allegations of abuse. She claims he is trying to silence her.

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