Ashley Morgan Smithline, one of several women who’ve accused Marilyn Manson of abuse, is now retracting the allegations she made against the musician.
In a legal filing obtained by Billboard, Smithline says she “succumbed to pressure from Evan Rachel Wood and her associates to make accusations of rape and assault against [Manson] that were not true.”
Smithline’s statement was filed amid Manson’s defamation lawsuit against Wood. Wood said that Manson, born Brian Warner, “horrifically abused [her] for years” in a February 2021 Instagram post, and expanded on her allegations in the 2022 documentary Phoenix Rising.
Following Wood’s Instagram post, other women came forward with allegations of abuse against Warner, including Smithline, who said in a May 2021 People interview that Warner had sexually assaulted her. In June 2021, Smithline sued Warner, joining lawsuits filed by actor Esmé Bianco and Warner’s former assistant Ashley Walters.
Smithline says now that her suit “contained untrue statements about Mr. Warner, including that there was violence and non-consensual sexual activity in our brief relationship.”
“I never intended to pursue criminal charges against Mr. Warner and have no intention now of ever pursuing criminal charges, as Mr. Warner did not ever assault or abuse me,” Smithline continues.
She adds that she feels “manipulated” by Wood, Bianco, lawyer Jay Ellwanger and Wood’s associate Illma Gore, also named in Warner’s defamation suit, to “spread publicly false accusations of abuse against Warner.”
A rep for Wood tells Billboard, “Evan never pressured or manipulated Ashley.”
“It was Ashley who first contacted Evan about the abuse she had suffered,” the statement continues. “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’s lawsuit was dismissed in January 2023, and Walters’ in May 2022. Bianco’s case was settled in January 2023. Warner also faces suits from anonymous Jane Does. He’s denied all allegations.
If you are affected by abuse and needing support, or know someone who is, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233, or the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673). You can also chat online at thehotline.org or online.rainn.org, respectively.
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