A former girlfriend who had accused Marilyn Manson of abuse has recanted the allegations in a declaration of support submitted in his defamation lawsuit against Evan Rachel Wood. In the declaration, Smithline claimed that she was “manipulated” by Wood and others to speak out against the singer.
“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 wrote. “Eventually, I started to believe that what I was repeatedly told happened to Ms. Wood and [others] also happened to me.”
Smithline publicly accused Manson, whose real name is Brian Warner, in an interview with People in 2021, detailing numerous instances of physical, sexual, and psychological abuse from 2010 to 2013. “I have bonded with the five main girls who went through this, and we have found such a strength in numbers,” she told the publication. “Our stories are identical, it’s disgusting.” Smithline’s lawsuit was filed in June 2021 and dismissed last month after she failed to replace her former legal counsel.
In the new court document, Smithline recalled speaking with Wood and other Manson accusers – including Manson’s former assistant Ashley Walters and Game of Thrones actress Esme Bianco – who asked if she had experienced the same things. “I remember [Wood] asked me whether I had been, among other things, whipped, chained, tied up, branded/cut, assaulted while sleeping, beaten, or raped,” Smithline claimed. “She said all of these things happened to Ms. Wood and others, and that when Ms. Wood was with Mr. Warner every moment was a moment of survival. When I said, no this did not happen to me and this was not my experience, I recall being told by Ms. Wood that just because I could not remember did not necessarily mean that it did not happen.”
In a statement, Manson’s attorney Howard King said: “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. This sworn testimony proves it.”
A spokesperson for Wood denied Smithline’s claims in a statement to Billboard, saying, “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.”