It’s the kind of story that most people believe is unthinkable in a post #metoo world. Ashley Morgan Smithline, one of the women who have publicly accused Marilyn Manson of sexual abuse and misconduct, has completely recanted her testimony, accusing Evan Rachel Wood of manipulating her as part of a scheme to destroy Manson.
Ashley Morgan Smithline, who previously sued Marilyn Manson for sexual assault, recanted her previous allegations and now claims that she was "manipulated" into speaking out against the singer. https://t.co/KkkwL7RNI7
— Rolling Stone (@RollingStone) February 23, 2023
“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’s statement reads. “Eventually, I started to believe that what I was repeatedly told happened to Ms. Wood and [others] also happened to me.”
A woman who sued Marilyn Manson for sexual assault says in a new legal filing that the allegations were untrue, claiming she had been “manipulated” by the rocker’s ex-girlfriend, Evan Rachel Wood. https://t.co/lixUGsp4qx
— billboard (@billboard) February 23, 2023
In a statement to Billboard, a spokesperson for Wood strongly denied Smithline’s accusations: “Evan never pressured or manipulated Ashley. It was Ashley who 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.”
The filing of Smithline’s declaration was first reported Thursday by the New York Post.
Smithline’s allegations are a major revelation in Manson’s two-year legal saga, in which at least five women have accused him of serious sexual wrongdoing. After Wood posted her allegations to Instagram in February 2021, lawsuits quickly followed from Smithline, Manson’s former assistant Ashley Walters, Game of Thrones actress Esme Bianco and a Jane Doe accuser.
Smithline’s case was dismissed last month after she fired her lawyer and stopped participating in the case.
Manson has denied all of the allegations and filed his own defamation lawsuit in March 2022 claiming that Wood and another woman, Illma Gore, had “secretly recruited, coordinated, and pressured prospective accusers to emerge simultaneously” with false accusations against him.
Wood’s attorneys are hoping to dismiss the lawsuit against her by Manson under California’s anti-SLAPP statute, similar to the legislation we have here in Ontario, claiming Manson’s case in an attempt to punish Wood for speaking publicly about the abuse. But with Smithline recanting and launching accusations of a manufactured story from top to bottom Manson has a good chance at having his case heard.
Evan Rachel Wood filed a fake FBI letter impersonating a real agent in court. It contained lies that she was a “key” witness in a major criminal investigation.
— Justice for Marilyn Manson (@standwithmanson) February 22, 2023
Manson’s attorney, Howard King, also told Billboard, “As we have always said, the coordinated campaign of #MeToo lies against Brian Warner is going to go down as one of the greatest hoaxes of all time. Vulnerable women were manipulated by unscrupulous individuals seeking to build their own brands and pursue their own vendettas.”