Evan Rachel Wood has accused her former partner Marilyn Manson of years of “horrific” abuse.
In an Instagram post, the actor wrote:
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. 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.
Four other women – Ashley Walters, Sarah McNeilly, Ashley Morgan and Gabriella (with no surname given) – have also alleged abusive behaviour via public Instagram posts. McNeilly and Walters allege physical and emotional abuse, including behaviour they characterise as torture; Morgan alleges sexual and physical violence, and coercion; Gabriella alleges rape, physical violence and that Manson forced her to take drugs.
Manson described the allegations as “horrible distortions of reality”, in a statement shared on Instagram late on Monday.
“Obviously, my art and my life have long been magnets for controversy, but these recent claims about me are horrible distortions of reality,” he wrote.
“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 is the truth.”
The Guardian has contacted representatives at Manson’s management company and record label for comment.
Manson has “categorically denied” a previous allegation of sexual abuse made by an anonymous woman in 2018 over incidents dating back to 2011, which was thrown out due to “an absence of corroboration” and the statute of limitations having expired. Manson’s lawyer had called the allegations “completely delusional”.
After today’s allegations, Manson’s record label, Loma Vista Recordings, dropped him from its roster. “Loma Vista will cease to further promote his current album effective immediately,” a statement read. “Due to these concerning developments, we have also decided not work with Marilyn Manson on any future projects.”
Wood and Manson began dating in 2007, when she was 19 and he was 37. She inspired his 2007 song Heart-Shaped Glasses (When the Heart Guides the Hand). Their relationship ended in 2008. Manson told an interviewer in 2009: “I have fantasies every day about smashing her skull in with a sledgehammer,” and said he had self-harmed following the breakup. They reconciled, got engaged in 2010, and split again later that year.
In 2018, Wood appeared before the US House Judiciary Committee amid a campaign for the 2016 Survivors’ Bill of Rights Act to be enacted across the US, and detailed her experiences of various forms of abuse from an unnamed person.
She said that in the wake of the attacks, she was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, and had self-harmed and attempted suicide. All four of the other women who allege abuse against Manson say they have suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder.
In 2019, Wood testified to the California Senate Public Safety Committee in support of a bill expanding the rights of victims of domestic violence. She said an unnamed abuser, who she met in her late teens, made “threats against my life, sometimes with deadly weapons” amid alleged domestic abuse in which he also tortured and starved her, surveilled her phone usage and threatened her with blackmail.
Manson was questioned about the testimonies in an interview with Metal Hammer in 2020, and cut the interview short. A press representative later said: “Evan Rachel Wood dated multiple people around the time she was dating Manson”, and that the “sledgehammer” comment “was obviously a theatrical rock star interview promoting a new record, and not a factual account”. They complained of “gossip and conjecture”, and highlighted a 2015 interview with Wood in which she said of Manson: “I appreciate everything he taught me.”
Wood said in 2018: “A lot of rumours have been circulating around about who I was talking about in my testimony. I would like to clear something up and say, it wasn’t Mickey Rourke. We were never ‘together’.”
In 2018, Manson was also accused of harassing women on the set of the TV drama House, which he did not comment on. In 2001, he was charged with assault and sexual misconduct after rubbing his crotch in a security guard’s face, later reduced to a charge of disorderly conduct. He paid a $4,000 fine and settled a lawsuit out of court.
Since his 1994 debut, Manson has had an enduring career with his cartoonishly gothic metal. Nine of his 11 studio albums have reached the US Top 10 – most recently We Are Chaos in September 2020 – with 1998’s Mechanical Animals and 2003’s The Golden Age of Grotesque reaching No 1.
Wood is a successful film and television actor, who made her breakthrough with a Golden Globe-nominated performance in the 2003 film Thirteen. She has since starred in films including Down in the Valley, The Wrestler and Charlie Countryman, and had a voice role in the hit sequel to Frozen. Since 2016 she has had a lead role in sci-fi TV series Westworld, adding to TV credits in True Blood, an Emmy-nominated role in Mildred Pierce, and more.