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Sex. Celebrity. Politics. With Teeth

Evan Rachel Wood Says She 'Never' Manipulated Fellow Marilyn Manson Accuser Who Retracted Claim

Ashley Morgan Smithline said last week that Wood pressured her to accuse Manson of rape.

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Image for article titled Evan Rachel Wood Says She 'Never' Manipulated Fellow Marilyn Manson Accuser Who Retracted Claim
Photo: Toni Anne Barson, Slaven Vlasic/ (Getty Images)

Evan Rachel Wood is refuting Ashley Morgan Smithline’s claim in People magazine last week that Wood manipulated Smithline into claiming she had been raped by Marilyn Manson (Brian Warner).

According to a new court filing obtained by Rolling Stone and BuzzFeed News, Wood submitted text messages, DMs, and voicemails from over the past three years that, she says, serve as evidence that Smithline’s recent accusation of manipulation by Wood and denial of alleged abuse by Manson are both bogus.

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“I never pressured or manipulated Ashley Morgan Smithline to make any accusations against [Manson],” Wood said in a statement filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court on Monday, “and I certainly never pressured or manipulated her to make accusations that were not true. It was Ms. Smithline who first contacted me in March 2019.”

The statement includes a 2019 comment Smithline made on Wood’s Instagram post about surviving abuse. At the time, she had not named Manson as the alleged perpetrator, nor had she ever met Smithline, yet the comment included some hyper-specific information.

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“When he had me captive in the stupid ballet studio, i cringed hearing him brag about replaying that scene from rules of attraction to you,” the comment said, according to the the court filing and a screenshot of the post. Wood said that it showed “Ms. Smithline [referencing] information about my private experiences with Mr. Warner that was not publicly available at that time.”

Additionally, Wood submitted a DM from 2021 that reads, “I can’t breathe. I have no reason to make this up,” which Smithline sent just after the publication of a People cover story in which she publicly identified herself as a survivor of Manson’s alleged abuse. Smithline also replied to Wood’s Instagram story in October 2021 after Wood posted an article in which another Manson accuser claimed he said he planned to kill Wood. Smithline said: “i second that. he said i’m going to kill my ex so many times!”

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Another item included in Wood’s filing was a 2022 voicemail from Smithline to a friend in which she confided that she thought Manson’s attorney wanted her to “turn on the other girls and say it was all a ruse.”

“It is unsurprising that Evan Rachel Wood is desperately fighting to keep Ashley Smithline’s testimony out of court - because she knows the truth will expose her plot to manipulate the women who trusted her in order to destroy Brian Warner,” King said in an email to Jezebel. “Brian Warner never abused anyone. Ashley Smithline has told the truth. It’s sadly predictable that Evan Rachel Wood - someone who has already filed a forged FBI letter under oath in other court proceedings - remains committed to not doing the same.”

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Since 2021, Smithline had previously maintained she, along with Wood and several others, had survived sexual abuse perpetrated by Manson. “Our stories are all fucking identical,” she said of finding kinship with fellow accusers. “It’s disgusting. Like, at least if you’re going to be an abusive psychopath, be original, and he wasn’t in any way.”

Smithline’s assertion that Wood manipulated her into lying about suffering abuse came nearly two months after a California judge tossed out her lawsuit against Manson because she did not replace her former legal counsel, Jay D. Ellwanger, who withdrew himself from the case in December 2022.

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When contacted by Page Six at the time, Manson’s attorney applauded her apparent decision. “We thank and commend Ashley Smithline for dismissing her claims against Brian Warner without seeking or receiving anything in return,” King told the tabloid. “Ms. Smithline has refused to be manipulated by others who are trying to pursue their own agendas against Mr. Warner.”