Evan Rachel Wood is refuting a Marilyn Manson accuser’s claim that Wood “manipulated” her into making false allegations against the musician in 2020 by saying the accuser had reached out to Wood first the previous year. In a new legal declaration, the actress provided screenshots of Instagram comments dating back to 2019, along with reported text messages, DMs, and voicemails from the last three years she says proves Smithline lied in a recent legal filing on behalf of the rocker.
In Monday’s filing, obtained by Rolling Stone, Wood denied ever manipulating model Ashley Morgan Smithline and provided Instagram screenshots of comments from Smithline left on Wood’s Instagram in 2019, messages between Smithline and Wood where the model stood by her accusations against Manson, and a 2022 voicemail from Smithline to a friend in which she said she believed Manson’s attorney wanted her to “turn on the other girls and say it was all a ruse.”
In the filing, Wood referred to a March 2019 comment in which Smithline “referenced information about my private experiences with Warner” when Manson (whose real name is Brian Warner) allegedly abused Wood while “making her watch a particular scene from Rules of Attraction.”
“When he had me captive in the stupid ballet studio, I cringed hearing him brag about replaying that scene from rules of attraction to you,” read a comment from Smithline on a 2019 post in which Wood spoke about being a victim of domestic abuse. “I thought no one would ever talk about this.”
In her declaration earlier this month, Smithline claimed that she was “manipulated” by Wood in 2020 to make those statements, and that the actress had told her “that just because I could not remember did not necessarily mean that it did not happen.”
Furthermore, after People published an interview with Smithline detailing the alleged abuse she faced in May 2021, Smithline reportedly sent Wood a DM on Instagram that read, “I can’t breathe. I have no reason to make this up.” To which Wood replied, “Don’t let anybody get to you. Just sit in your truth.”
In screenshots of messages sent to Wood after the interview, Smithline expressed that she was being harassed by fans of Warner. “[I]t take a special kind of person to threaten rape and abuse victims with rape and abuse,” Smithline wrote, later adding, “It’s been relentless.”
“The real pressure Smithline faced was not to make allegations against Plaintiff—it was to retract them,” reads the filing. “Smithline’s declaration is therefore wholly unreliable.”
Also attached as evidence are two June 2022 voicemails left by Smithline to a friend in which she claims that Warner’s attorney, Howard King, had called to speak to her “one on one” and that she believed he wanted her to retract her allegations. “Don’t repeat this to anyone. I swear to God, don’t say this to anyone … but I did get a private message on my cellular telephone from Marilyn Manson’s lawyer saying, `I was wondering if we could just talk,’” Smithline said in the voicemail. “The only reason he’d be calling me… is that he thinks I’m the weak link and he might want to settle with me to turn on the other girls and say that it was all a ruse.”
Among other exhibits filed is one screenshot that reportedly captured King asking Smithline if she wanted to talk to Warner. “He would like to talk,” reads the screenshot. “Closure is important to Brian and he thinks you can help each other.” It’s unclear when the alleged text messages were sent.
Neither King nor Wood’s attorney, Michael Kump, immediately replied to requests for comment. When reached for comment, Smithline told Rolling Stone, “Evan’s full of shit. That’s my comment,” before adding, “She’s saying anything she can to discredit me.”
In Monday’s filing, Wood’s attorney also questions why Smithline wasn’t deposed in the case by Warner’s legal team. “The reason why is obvious,” reads the filing. “Plaintiff understood that if Defendants had the opportunity to question Smithline, the actual truth would come out: Defendants never pressured or manipulated Smithline.”
The new filing comes after Smithline claimed she had “succumbed to pressure” from Wood to “make accusations of rape and assault against Mr. Warner that were not true.” According to the New York Post, King claims that she has not been “compensated for speaking in favor of his client and against Wood.”
Smithline sued Warner in 2021, alleging sexual assault, sexual battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, human trafficking, and unlawful imprisonment, among other allegations. She claimed Warner enticed her to move from Bangkok to Los Angeles to act and that they started a relationship, which turned dark. She alleged that she woke up one day, bound, and realized Warner was penetrating her.
Among other allegations, she claimed he choked her, ignored her pleas of “no,” and carved his initials into her skin with a knife. “On yet another occasion, Mr. Warner threw a Nazi knife at Ms. Smithline, only barely missing her face,” the lawsuit alleged. Warner denied the accusations; the suit was dismissed last month.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department conducted an investigation into criminal charges against Warner and turned its findings over to the L.A. district attorney. The D.A. has yet to announce whether or not it will press charges against Warner.
In 2021, Smithline spoke with Rolling Stone as part of an investigation into her and the other accusers’ claims against Warner. She accused Warner of “Brainwashing 101” and said Warner took advantage of her vulnerability, locking her in a confined space he called the “bad girls’ room” as punishment. “I started to [feel] smaller and smaller and quieter and quieter,” Smithline said. “When you’re silenced or locked in a box where no one can hear you, you really start to think about how small and unimportant you are. I just didn’t want to speak anymore.”