A woman who accused Marilyn Manson of sexual abuse has recanted her allegation, claiming she was manipulated into lying by his ex Evan Rachel Wood.
Ashley Morgan Smithline was one of several women who had accused Manson – whose real name is Brian Warner – of sexual abuse over the past two years. However, she has now recanted her allegation.
In a declaration, she alleged that she was “manipulated by Ms Wood” until she agreed to “spread publicly false accusations of abuse”, referencing Manson’s ex-fiancée.
“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 alleged in a declaration obtained by Page Six on Thursday. “Eventually, I started to believe that what I was repeatedly told happened to Ms Wood and (others) also happened to me.”
Manson’s attorney Howard King told the outlet that Smithline contacted the musician to apologise last week.
“For a moment in time, having been questioned so many times by Evan Rachel Wood about this ‘repressed memory’ and being told, ‘You’re not remembering what happened,’ she believed it for a minute,” King stated.
In a statement to Billboard, a spokesperson for Wood strongly denied Smithline’s new accusations.
“Evan never pressured or manipulated Ashley. It was Ashley who first contacted Evan about the abuse she had suffered,” the spokesperson said. “It’s unfortunate that the harassment and threats Ashley received after filing her federal lawsuit appear to have pressured her to change her testimony.”
Wood first claimed Manson was abusive during their relationship in February 2021. After the Westworld actress spoke out, sexual abuse lawsuits against him followed from Smithline, Manson’s former assistant Ashley Walters, Game of Thrones actress Esme Bianco, and two Jane Does.
Last month, Smithline’s case was dismissed after she failed to find a new lawyer. Walters’s lawsuit was thrown out last year and Bianco reached an undisclosed out-of-court settlement with Manson in January.
Manson, who has maintained his innocence, is currently suing Wood for defamation for publicly casting him as a “rapist and abuser” on social media and in her HBO documentary Phoenix Rising. Smithline appeared in the documentary.