- More than 16 women have accused goth rocker Marilyn Manson of sexual abuse and battery since February 2021.
- At least four women have filed lawsuits against Manson, whose real name is Brian Warner.
- Los Angeles authorities are now investigating the claims. Below is a complete timeline of the allegations.
Throughout 2021, over a dozen women have come forward and accused shock rocker Marilyn Manson of sexual harassment and violence, and at least four women have sued him on similar grounds.
Manson, whose real name is Brian Hugh Warner, is known for his gory, misogynistic, and macabre public persona and stage presence. In its ’90s heyday, his band released three platinum albums, and he’s sold 50 million records worldwide. Manson, 52, has also appeared in a number of movie and TV roles.
Over the years, Manson has talked publicly about abusing women but never faced serious scrutiny or legal repercussions over his behavior. But the floodgates opened on February 1, 2021, when Manson’s ex, actor Evan Rachel Wood, said in an Instagram post, “he started grooming me when I was a teenager and horrifically abused me for years.”
On that same day, four more women also publicly accused Manson of sexual assault, and months later, in April, “Game of Thrones” actress Esmé Bianco, who had dated Manson, filed a civil suit in federal court against Manson, accusing him of sexual assault and battery.
As of December, at least 16 women have accused the artist of sexual harassment, according to Rolling Stone.
Here is a complete timeline of the allegations against Manson so far.
On February 1, 2021, “Westworld” actor Evan Rachel Wood publicly accused Manson of abuse in an Instagram post.
For years, Wood had campaigned in support of domestic and sexual violence survivors and spoken about her own experiences, but her post was the first time she named her alleged abuser.
“The name of my abuser is Brian Warner,” Wood said in the post, “also known to the world as Marilyn Manson.”
“He started grooming me when I was a teenager and horrifically abused me for years,” Wood said. “I was brainwashed and manipulated into submission. I am done living in fear of retaliation, slander, or blackmail. I am here to expose this dangerous man and call out the many industries that have enabled him before he ruins any more lives. I stand with the many victims who will no longer be silent.”
Four other women, including Ashley Walters, Sarah McNeilly, Ashley Morgan Smithline, and Jenna Jameson, also came forward on the same day as Wood.
“I continue to suffer from PTSD, and struggle with
. I stayed in touch with quite a few people who went through their own traumas, under his control,” Walters, a former assistant and photographer for Manson, said on Instagram.
“I was thrown up against a wall and he threatened to bash my face in with the baseball bat he was holding, for trying to get him to pick out a pair of pants prior to a music video,” McNeilly said in an Instagram post. “I have been afraid to bring any spotlight upon myself to avoid winding up in his crosshairs again.”
Smithline claimed that Manson psychologically and sexually abused her after recruiting her for a photo shoot when she worked as a model between 2009 and 2010.
“I have night terrors, PTSD, anxiety, and mostly crippling
. I try to wash constantly to get him out or off of me,” Smithline said in an Instagram post, alleging instances of physical and antisemitic abuse as well. “I know he is still doing this to a rotating door of young girls, and causing irreparable damage. I am coming forward so he will finally stop.”
That same day, former adult-film star Jenna Jameson told the Daily Mail that Manson bit her during sex and had “fantasized about burning [her] alive.”
On February 1, Manson issued a statement on Instagram as more testimonies flooded in.
“Obviously, my life and my art have long been magnets for controversy, but these recent claims about me are horrible distortions of reality,” Manson said. “My intimate relationships have always been entirely consensual with like-minded partners. Regardless of how — and why — others are now choosing to misrepresent the past, that is the truth.”
The same week, Manson was dropped by his label Loma Vista Recordings, as well as his talent agency and longtime manager Tony Ciulla.
On February 3, Los Angeles Police Department officers visited Manson’s home and performed a wellness check. The artist reportedly refused to come out and the officers left without filing a report, according to Page Six.
On February 8, Wolf Alice singer Ellie Roswell also claimed that Manson abused her by filming up her skirt at a music festival.
“I met Marilyn backstage at a festival a few years ago. After his compliments towards my band became more and more hyperbolic I became suspicious of his behaviour,” Roswell wrote. “I was shocked to look down and see he was filming up my skirt with a GoPro.”
“There were no repercussions for his behaviour, his tour manager simply said ‘he does this kind of thing all the time,'” she added.
In early February, singer Phoebe Bridgers stood in solidarity with the women who spoke out and shared her own experience with Manson in a tweet, in which she said she and her friends visited the singer’s home as teenagers, and he described one room as his “rape room.”
On February 10, in an interview with New York Magazine, Bianco alleged that Manson, her ex, sexually and physically abused her.
During that month, Manson was let go from acting gigs on shows like “American Gods,” “Salem,” “The New Pope,” and “Sons of Anarchy,” according to Vanity Fair.
On February 19, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department opened an investigation into the mounting accusations against Manson, according to Rolling Stone.
April 30, 2021
“Game of Thrones” actress Esmé Bianco sued Manson, accusing the singer of sexual assault and battery, according to court documents filed in the US District Court for the Central District of California.
In her complaint, Bianco said that Manson and Ciulla, his former manager who represented him for more than 25 years, violated human-trafficking laws by flying her from London to Los Angeles for a music video that was never released or created.
She alleged that Warner instead spent four days subjecting her to sleep deprivation, beating her, threatening her, and trying to force her to perform sexual acts on camera.
“Mr. Warner [Manson] locked Ms. Bianco in the bedroom, tied her to a prayer kneeler, and beat her with a whip that Mr. Warner said was utilized by the Nazis. He also electrocuted her,” the lawsuit said.
Bianco’s lawsuit also said she lived with Warner for a few months in 2011, and during that time, he deprived her of sleep, cut her with a “Nazi” knife during sex, sexually assaulted her when she was unconscious or incapacitated, chased her with an ax and smashed holes in the walls.
Howard King, an attorney for Manson, said Bianco’s allegations are “provably false” in a statement to Insider.
“To be clear, this suit was only filed after my client refused to be shaken down by Ms. Bianco and her lawyer and give in to their outrageous financial demands based on conduct that simply never occurred. We will vigorously contest these allegations in court and are confident that we will prevail,” King said.
Edwin F. McPherson, the attorney representing Ciulla Management, said the lawsuit was “legally meritless” in a statement to Insider.
“This attempt to involve Ciulla Management in this action is not only legally meritless but also offensive and absurd. We look forward to formally contesting these completely frivolous allegations,” he wrote.
May 18, 2021
Walters, Manson’s former assistant, sued the artist over alleged sexual harassment, sexual assault, sexual battery, and intentional infliction of emotional distress, according to court documents.
According to the lawsuit, Walters alleged that Manson forced her to work for two days straight, during which she says she feared Manson’s frequent violent and angry outbursts.
Walters accused Manson of pushing her onto his “influential industry friends and associates,” including an actor, who forcefully kissed her, in September 2010. She also alleged that Manson introduced her to a director that groped her multiple times and put his hand up her skirt while covering her mouth.
“It made me feel like I was his property,” Walters said. “It just made me feel like a piece of meat.”
The photographer said Manson was worried that she would speak publicly about his behavior in 2011, so he spoke poorly of her to his colleagues. In another attempt to dissuade Walters from coming forward, she claimed that Manson made her pose for pictures wearing Nazi paraphernalia with the intention of using the photos against her if they ever spoke out.
Walters said that after connecting with Wood and other women who alleged that Manson abused them, she felt ready to speak out.
May 28, 2021
In late May, Manson was sued over allegations of sexual harassment, sexual assault, sexual battery, and intentional infliction of emotional distress by an unnamed woman claiming to have dated the artist in 2011.
In the lawsuit, the woman alleged that Manson raped her, controlled her freedom of movement and food intake, and emotionally tortured her.
The woman said in the lawsuit that Manson forced her to watch an unreleased music video called “Groupie,” which, the lawsuit alleged, featured child abuse and sexual abuse.
“Warner turned the volume of the sound system to a very high setting and pressed play. The film started with the band partying together. It was very rowdy. Warner put a condom on the penis of bandmate Twiggy Ramirez (Jeordie White) and performed oral sex on him,” the lawsuit said, of the video.
“There was a knock or ring at the door. Someone answered it. The door opened, and a seemingly young teenage fan was holding something she brought for Warner. She was wearing a Mary lin Manson band t-shirt and dark eye makeup,” the lawsuit continued, describing the alleged video. “Warner ordered she be let in. He then tied the young fan to a chair, and lectured and interrogated her. He humiliated and berated her. She cried and pled. The girl’s t-shirt was removed, and Warner forced her to drink a glass of one of the band member’s urine. Later, a gun is introduced, and Warner threatened her with it and possibly pistol-whipped her.”
The lawsuit alleged that Manson forced the woman to watch the video, sending his assistant (and accuser) Walters home before he played the video, and that his former manager urged him to keep the video “locked in a safe.”
June 30, 2021
The next month, Ashley Lindsay Smithline, also known as Ashley Lindsay Morgan, who first spoke out in February, filed a lawsuit against Manson accusing him of sexual assault, human trafficking, and unlawful imprisonment, among other allegations.
Smithline alleged that after convincing her to move from Bangkok, where she was working as a model, to Los Angeles, Marilyn Manson raped her and cut and branded her on multiple occasions in 2010.
“At no point before, during, or after their relationship did Ms. Smithline tell Mr. Warner she had a sexual ‘kink’ or ‘fantasy’ for this sort of behavior. Mr. Warner never told Ms. Smithline that he had those ‘kinks’ or ‘fantasies’ either — he just abused her,” the lawsuit said. “It took Ms. Smithline years to understand the extent of Mr. Warner’s physical, sexual, psychological, and emotional abuse. In fact, the true extent of the injuries suffered by Ms. Smithline were not fully realized until Fall 2020, when she began meeting with other survivors of Mr. Warner’s abuse.”
In the lawsuit, Smithline accused Manson of breaking her nose, whipping her, locking her inside a soundproof glass enclosure, controlling her sleep patterns and nutrition, and forcing her to use drugs so that her weight dropped to 80 pounds.
Smithline also said that Manson attacked her with a “Nazi” knife, and threatened to kill her several times.
In an interview with People magazine, Smithline said, “He kept telling me, ‘You can’t rape someone that you’re in love with.'”
“We strongly deny Ms. Smithline’s claims,” Manson’s representative told Rolling Stone in a statement in June. “There are so many falsehoods within her claims that we wouldn’t know where to begin to answer them. This relationship, to the limited extent it was a relationship, lasted less than a week in 2010. Manson hasn’t seen Ms. Smithline since then.”
July 28, 2021
In late July, Marilyn Manson’s attorneys filed a motion to dismiss Bianco’s sexual assault and battery claims against him, arguing that they had no merit based on California’s statute of limitations law.
In the motion, attorney Howard King said that Bianco’s claims were “a key component of a coordinated attack by multiple plaintiffs, who are cynically and dishonestly seeking to monetize and exploit the #MeToo movement.”
King said that Bianco’s claims are “governed by the two-year statute of limitations in California Code of Civil Procedure section 335.1” and that they should be dismissed.
“Because the statute of limitations expired in 2013 and Plaintiff did not file her claims until 2021, her sexual assault and battery claims are not actionable and should be dismissed,” King wrote.
Manson’s attorney argued that the California law that was amended in 2019 to include a ten-year statute of limitations for adult claims of sexual abuse does not apply to the case because the abuse allegedly occurred in 2011, and “the statute does not revive claims that lapsed under the former limitations period.”
August 26, 2021
Manson featured on a track called “Jail, pt. 2” on Ye West’s latest album, Donda, and joined the rapper onstage at the album’s listening party, alongside rapper DaBaby, who was in hot water at the time for making homophobic comments.
On September 15, a California judge dismissed the unnamed woman’s complaint against Manson, due to the state’s statute of limitations.
On September 23, the woman revised and refiled her lawsuit, according to Rolling Stone.
October 8, 2021
A federal judge in California denied Manson’s efforts to dismiss a lawsuit from Bianco.
In his ruling, Judge Fernando Aenlle-Rocha disagreed with Manson’s attorney and said that Bianco’s timeliness in filing her lawsuit would be determined at a later stage in the litigation.
“A reasonable jury could find that the effects of Warner’s alleged unconscionable acts, including the perceived threat to Plaintiff’s safety, immigration status, and career, persisted years after her last contact with Warner,” the ruling said.
On November 14, in a sweeping exposé featuring interviews with dozens of women previously involved with Manson, Rolling Stone reported that Manson had a small, soundproof glass enclosure in his West Hollywood apartment, which he allegedly called “the Bad Girls Room.”
Several women who dated the artist described the enclosure as a “solitary-confinement cell used to psychologically torture women.”
On November 19, Stephen D. Rothschild, a defense lawyer representing Manson, told the court that in the context of all of the filed and refiled lawsuits, his legal team “may decide that it’s best to have a global mediation.”
“I don’t think that’s going to happen any time soon, but it is in the cards,” he said, according to Rolling Stone.
On November 30, Los Angeles special-victims-unit detectives seized items including “media storage devices” during a raid of Manson’s West Hollywood residence as part of a separate criminal investigation into domestic violence and sexual assault complaints against the rocker that allegedly occurred between 2009 and 2011, authorities said. The search was conducted around 7 a.m. local time, and Manson was not home when the search warrant was executed, officials said.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.