A US judge has dismissed key sections of Marilyn Manson‘s defamation case against Evan Rachel Wood.
Manson — real name Brian Warner — filed a defamation lawsuit against Westworld actor Wood back in March 2022 after she accused him of grooming, manipulation and “horrific abuse”.
Part of the lawsuit claimed that Manson’s former fiancee Wood and Illma Gore — the latter of whom was described as Wood’s “on-again, off-again romantic partner” in the lawsuit — “secretly recruited, coordinated, and pressured prospective accusers to emerge simultaneously with allegations of rape and abuse against Warner”.
Wood responded at the time that she was “not scared” of Manson’s defamation lawsuit, adding that “this is part of the retaliation that keeps survivors quiet”.
Yesterday (May 9), Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Teresa A. Beaudet rejected Manson’s claims that Wood pressured “multiple women to make false accusations” against him and fabricated an FBI letter to back up her allegations (via Los Angeles Times).
Beaudet also dismissed a section that alleged Wood and Gore used a checklist for other women to use to make claims of abuse.
The court found that Manson had not “demonstrated a probability of prevailing on his claims based on alleged defamation against Wood”.
“We are very pleased with the Court’s ruling, which affirms and protects Evan’s exercise of her fundamental First Amendment rights,” Wood’s lead attorney, Michael Kump, told Deadline. “As the Court correctly found, [Manson] failed to show that his claims against her have even minimal merit.”
Back in February, Wood refuted model Ashley Morgan Smithline’s claim that she “manipulated” her into making false accusations against Manson in 2020.
It came after Smithline recanted her “false” sexual assault allegations against the singer from a 2021 interview with People. The model alleged in the article that Manson raped her, cut her and locked her in a glass, soundproofed room. In January, the sexual assault case was dismissed by a court in California.
Manson’s attorney Howard King reportedly referenced Smithline’s allegations against Wood in his response to the defamation ruling.
“The ruling is disappointing but not unexpected,” King said, according to Deadline.
“The Court telegraphed this outcome when it refused to consider the bombshell sworn declaration of former plaintiff Ashley Smithline, which detailed how women were systematically pressured by Evan Rachel Wood and Illma Gore to make false claims about Brian Warner.
“The failure to admit this critical evidence, along with the Court’s decision to not consider Ms. Gore’s iPad, the contents of which demonstrated how she and Ms. Wood crafted a forged FBI letter, will be the subject of an immediate appeal to the California Court of Appeal,” he added.