Marilyn Manson Accuser Ashley Morgan Smithline Recants Allegation
One of the women who accused Marilyn Manson of sexual assault and abuse alongside the actress Evan Rachel Wood in 2021, Ashley Morgan Smithline (AKA Ashley Lindsay Morgan), says in a new legal filing that the allegations were untrue and that she was “manipulated” by Wood, according to a new report.
Last year, Manson, the rock singer whose real name is Brian Warner, sued Wood, his ex-fiancée, for defamation, claiming she formed a conspiracy against him.
The sworn statement from Smithline, filed by the singer’s lawyers Feb. 23, claims Smithline was “manipulated by Ms. Wood” to agree to “spread publicly false accusations of abuse” against Manson.
“I succumbed to pressure from Evan Rachel Wood and her associates to make accusations of rape and assault against Mr. Warner that were not true,” Smithline writes, as Page Six reported. “I started to believe that what I was repeatedly told happened to Ms. Wood and [others] also happened to me.”
Wood’s spokesperson denied Smithline’s accusations. “Evan never pressured or manipulated Ashley,” they said, claiming Smithline “first contacted Evan about the abuse she had suffered. It’s unfortunate that the harassment and threats Ashley received after filing her federal lawsuit appear to have pressured her to change her testimony.”
Two years ago, Wood publicly named Manson as her alleged abuser. Simultaneously, four other women — Smithline, Sarah McNeilly, Ashley Walters and a woman named Gabriella — joined Wood by each sharing their own separate accusations. Manson has refuted all allegations. Smithline sued the musician in 2021, the same year she spoke to People about her original claims. A judge dismissed her lawsuit earlier this year.
As summarized by Billboard:
[Smithline] said she had been initially contacted by other alleged victims and, when she denied that such abuse had happened to her, was repeatedly told that she might just not remember it.
‘While at first I knew Mr. Warner did not do these things to me, I eventually I began to question whether he actually did.’ Smithline wrote. ‘On numerous occasions, I was told … that I may just be misremembering what happened, repressing my memories of what happened, or that my memories had not yet surfaced — which they said happened to people against whom these acts were perpetrated.’
Eventually, Smithline said she agreed to participate. She said [Wood associate Illma] Gore drafted an accusation statement for her and posted it to her account for her, and that she was then connected with Jay Ellwanger, the same lawyer who represented [Manson accuser Esmé] Bianco.
‘Leading up to the filing of the complaint, I felt pressured by Mr. Ellwanger to go on a press tour, which included an interview on ‘The View’ and an interview and photoshoot with ‘People’ magazine. Smithline wrote. ‘I was very uncomfortable doing this press but felt pressured to do it.’
Smithline also noted that she had ‘never received any money’ from Manson as part of any settlement agreement to stop pursuing her case and that she did not intend to refile her case against him.
See a timeline of the allegations below.
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, resources are available to help. Please visit RAINN (the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network) online or dial 1-800-656-HOPE (1-800-656-4673).
Timeline of Abuse Allegations Against Marilyn Manson
After actress Evan Rachel Wood publicly accused Marilyn Manson of abuse in 2021, similar allegations by others against the rock singer also surfaced. Below is a timeline, starting with Wood’s 2018 testimony that disclosed her alleged abuse but didn’t name Manson. The musician, whose real name is Brian Warner, has denied the allegations. Several accusers subsequently sued him. He sued Wood in 2022.