A California judge has just dismissed much of rock musician Marilyn Manson’s defamation lawsuit against actor Evan Rachel Wood, who is one of more than a dozen women who have accused him of molestation in recent years.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Teresa Beaudet certainly Tuesday that Manson’s biggest claims against Wood were unfounded and that his lawsuit alleging her with defamation and “willful infliction of emotional distress” must proceed without her.
Allegations dropped from Manson’s complaint include his allegations that his ex-girlfriend “recruited, coordinated and pressured” women to accuse him of abuse, provided them with “checklists and scripts”, to develop her allegations and forged and distributed an FBI letter about a criminal investigation against Manson, whose real name is Brian Warner.
Beaudet also dismissed Manson’s claims that Wood defamed him when she encouraged artist Ashley “Illma” Gore, with whom she has been in a relationship since 2019, to tell potential accusers that Manson filmed the assault of a minor in a short film, in which he was filmed in 1996 called “Groupie”. Manson also claimed in his complaint that Wood Gore should have said that the actor portraying the minor in the film was an adult.
In her ruling, Beaudet largely cited protections for free speech and California’s anti-SLAPP law, which aims to prevent people from using lawsuits to intimidate or silence critics.
Wood’s attorney, Michael Kump, released a statement praising the judge’s decision.
“We are very pleased with the court’s ruling, which upholds and protects Evans’ exercise of her basic First Amendment rights,” he said.
Manson’s attorney Howard King criticized the court for failing to consider statements by Ashley Smithline, a former plaintiff against Manson, who has since said Wood “manipulated” her into accusing the musician of molestation.
“The verdict is disappointing but not unexpected. The court telegraphed that finding when it refused to consider former plaintiff Ashley Smithline’s affidavit, which detailed how wives of Evan Rachel Wood and Illma Gore were systematically pressured into making false claims about Brian Warner ‘ King said, adding that he will immediately appeal Beaudet’s decision.
This is Manson’s second straight loss in the event. In February, Beaudet rejected his request that Smithline’s statement be attached to his lawsuit. Wood claims that she never pressured Smithline and approached her about Manson’s behavior in March 2019.
Wood first went public with her allegations against Manson in 2021, saying he began grooming her as a teenager and “terribly abused” her during their relationship in the mid-to-late 2000s. Wood says Manson, who is nearly 20 years her senior, locked her in rooms as punishment, kept her away from friends and “essentially raped” her while filming a scene for one of his music videos in 2007.
More than a dozen other women have also made allegations of abuse against Manson, who was subsequently dropped from his record label and talent agency. He denies all allegations.
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