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Marilyn Manson files defamation lawsuit against Evan Rachel Wood over rape and abuse allegations

Manson accused Wood and another woman of having "recruited, coordinated, and pressured prospective accusers" in a conspiracy against him.
Actress Evan Rachel Wood and musician Marilyn Manson arrive for the after party for a special screening of "Across The Universe" on Sept. 13, 2007 in New York.
Evan Rachel Wood and Marilyn Manson arrive for the after-party for a special screening of "Across the Universe" in New York in September 2007.Scott Wintrow / Getty Images file

Marilyn Manson is suing actor and former girlfriend Evan Rachel Wood in connection with her allegations that he raped and abused her over the course of their relationship less than two weeks before Wood is set to star in an HBO documentary. 

Manson, the goth singer whose real name is Brian Warner, filed a defamation suit against Wood and another woman in Los Angeles County Superior Court on Wednesday, accusing them of having “secretly recruited, coordinated, and pressured prospective accusers.” The lawsuit also names Ashley "Illma" Gore, who worked with Wood as part of her push to pass legislation for abuse victims. 

A representative for Wood did not immediately respond to request for comment. 

Manson’s suit, which asks for a jury trial, accuses Wood and Gore of intentional infliction of emotional distress. He accuses Gore of defamation, impersonation over the internet and violation of the Comprehensive Computer Data and Access Fraud Act.

Wood testified before a House Judiciary subcommittee hearing about sexual abuse in 2018 that she had been raped two times, first by an abusive partner and then by a man in the storage closet of a bar. At the time, she did not name her alleged abusers. 

In an Instagram post last year, she accused Manson of “grooming me when I was a teenager” and said he “horrifically abused me for years.”

Manson addressed Wood’s allegations on Instagram that February, saying his art and his life “have long been magnets for controversy, but these recent claims about me are horrible distortions of reality.” 

“My intimate relationships have always been entirely consensual with like-minded partners,” he said. “Regardless of how — and why — others are now choosing to misrepresent the past, that is the truth.”

Gore echoed Manson's February statement in a tweet Thursday morning, apparently referencing the lawsuit.

"Obviously, my art and my life have long been magnets for controversy, but these recent claims about me are horrible distortions of reality," she wrote.

Manson alleges that Wood and Gore conspired for months before her post to coordinate allegations as part of a documentary, “Phoenix Rising,” which is set to be released on HBO on March 15.  

“That same day, several other women, assisted and coordinated by Wood and/or Gore, sought media attention with remarkably similar public abuse allegations against Warner,” the lawsuit says. “Those claims, like Wood’s, were false.” 

Manson has not been charged with any crime connected to Wood’s allegations.

Howard King, the lawyer representing Manson, alleged in a statement and in the lawsuit filing that the women forged a letter impersonating an FBI agent who claimed to be investigating Manson. He accused Wood and Gore of using the letter to recruit other women to make allegations and to persuade HBO to publish their documentary. 

The alleged letter, which is attached in the lawsuit filing and has been seen by NBC News, does not have an FBI logo. It says Wood is a key witness in a criminal investigation involving a “well known public figure,” without naming Manson. Although the copy of the letter is redacted, it appears to have included the email of someone in the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. 

The FBI declined to comment to NBC News. The district attorney’s office did not immediately respond to a request for more information on the letter or an investigation into Manson.

“Even though HBO and the producers have been made aware of these serious acts of misconduct, they have thus far chosen to proceed without regard for the facts,” King said. “But the evidence of wrongdoing by Wood and Gore is irrefutable — and this legal action will hold them to account.”

HBO declined to comment on the filing. 

The lawsuit also alleges that Gore contacted women by saying she worked with Wood as part of her domestic abuse advocacy and was organizing a meeting for a group of women who might have had similar experiences. She then sent women a “checklist” of abusive acts to ensure that all of the allegations were coordinated, the lawsuit says. 

Manson also accused Gore of hacking his social media and email accounts to gain access to  personal information and private conversations. He alleges that Gore got access to his account through information from his former assistant, Ashley Walters.

A law firm representing Walters denied the allegation, saying in a statement that she did not divulge sensitive or private information.

"In fact, Ashley only first met Illma years after she stopped working for Marilyn Manson," the statement said. "This is just the latest attempt to intimidate and silence survivors who stand up to abusers.“

The lawsuit alleges that she slandered him to the women she spoke with to “orchestrate and amplify false accusations against Warner, thereby bolstering Wood’s claim that Warner had been her (and others’) abuser.”

Manson’s home was searched and police took “media storage devices” in November as part of a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department investigation into allegations of domestic abuse and assault, NBC Los Angeles reported at the time. The sheriff’s department said the investigation was ongoing.

The district attorney’s office did not immediately respond to inquiries about the status of the investigation.

A judge last year dismissed a lawsuit filed against Manson by a woman, who remained anonymous, after it was determined that the statute of limitations on the allegations had expired. He still faces lawsuits from three other women.

“Game of Thrones” actor Esmé Bianco sued Manson in April, alleging that he committed multiple violent sexual assaults, a rape and other abuse from 2009 to 2013.

Walters, his then-assistant, accused him of sexual exploitation and psychological abuse in May. A judge ordered Walters to amend her filing last week in response to a request from Manson’s attorneys to dismiss the case based on the statute of limitations.

And in June, the model Ashley Morgan Smithline sued Manson alleging sexual assault, sexual battery and human trafficking.

Manson has repeatedly denied any and all allegations of sexual assault and abuse.