Evan Rachel Wood “not scared” of Marilyn Manson’s defamation lawsuit

"This is part of the retaliation that keeps survivors quiet"

Actor and activist Evan Rachel Wood has publicly discussed the recent defamation lawsuit filed against her by former partner Marilyn Manson, who Wood has accused of grooming before subjecting her to “horrific abuse” when they began a relationship.

Manson – real name Brian Hugh Warner – sued Wood for defamation, emotional distress and “impersonation over the internet” earlier this month, seeking a jury trial and naming both Wood along with Illma Gore (who is described as Wood’s “on-again, off-again romantic partner” in the lawsuit) as defendants.

In the lawsuit, filed in California court, Manson alleges that Wood and Gore committed “wrongful and illegal acts done in furtherance of a conspiracy… to publicly cast [Warner] as a rapist and abuser – a malicious falsehood that has derailed Warner’s successful music, TV, and film career”.

The lawsuit claims Wood and Gore “recruited, coordinated and pressured prospective accusers to emerge simultaneously with allegations of rape and abuse against Warner”, and alleges they impersonated an FBI agent in order to “create the false appearance that Warner’s alleged ‘victims’ and their families were in danger, and that there was a federal criminal investigation of Warner ongoing”.

It followed the premiere of Wood’s documentary, Phoenix Rising, at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival. Set to arrive on HBO Max today (March 15), the Amy Berg-directed film recounts the abuse Wood allegedly suffered from Manson, and follows her decision to publicly accuse him last year.

Now, appearing on The View, Wood has spoken out about Manson’s lawsuit. “I can’t obviously speak about any of the specific allegations of the lawsuit, but I am not scared,” Wood said. “I am sad, because this is how it works. This is what pretty much every survivor that tries to expose someone in a position of power goes through, and this is part of the retaliation that keeps survivors quiet.

“This is why people don’t want to come forward. This was expected. I’m very confident that I have the truth on my side and that the truth will come out, and that this is clearly timed before the documentary. There’s a reason,” Wood continued.

“I’m not doing this to my clear my name. I’m doing this to protect people. I’m doing this to sound the alarm that there is a dangerous person out there and I don’t want anybody getting near him. And so, people can think whatever they want about me. I have to let the legal process run its course. And I’m steady as a rock.”

After Wood publicly accused Manson of abuse in 2021, other women came forward with their own allegations against him. Those included Game of Thrones‘ Esme Bianco – who is suing Manson for alleged sexual assault, physical abuse and human trafficking.

Manson’s former assistant, Ashley Walters, is suing him for sexual assault, battery and harassment. Model Ashley Morgan Smithline, meanwhile, is seeking damages for sexual assault, sexual battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Manson has denied all allegations levelled at him, claiming that his accusers were “cynically and dishonestly seeking to monetise and exploit the #MeToo movement” by launching a “coordinated attack against him”.

Following the accusations, Manson was dropped by his record label Loma Vista as well as by his long-term manager Tony Ciulla. He was also axed from multiple TV projects, including American Gods and the Creepshow anthology series.

Last week, it was reported that Walters was allegedly threatened with “retaliatory legal action” if she took part in Phoenix Rising.

For help, advice or more information regarding sexual harassment, assault and rape in the UK, visit the Rape Crisis charity website. In the US, visit RAINN.

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