Rocker Brian Hugh Warner, better known by the world as Marilyn Manson, is facing an onslaught of disturbing accusations. While ex Evan Rachel Wood leads the charge, the list of women accusing Warner of sexual abuse has grown. Over the years, Warner has been accused of harassment and aggressive behavior, but now that details are bubbling to the surface about the abuse he engaged in during intimate relationships, Warner’s long-time record label dropped the embattled rock icon and other women have stepped forward with their own harrowing stories.
Evan Rachel Wood Tells Her Story
Wood, 33, has a successful career of her own. With accolades for her roles in Westworld, Frozen 2, Thirteen and others, Wood is also lauded for her activism in advocating for the rights of domestic violence survivors. The relationship between Warner and Wood became public knowledge in 2007, when the actress was 19 and Warner was 38. They first met when she was 18 and he was 36, and now details have come to light about the start of their relationship that cast it in a dark and disturbing light.
Per Vanity Fair, “Wood, now 33 and a star of HBO’s Westworld, has said that she met shock-rocker Manson when she was 18 and he was 36. In 2018, Wood testified before a House Judiciary Subcommittee as part of an effort to get the Sexual Assault Survivors’ Bill of Rights passed in all 50 states. ‘My experience with domestic violence was this: Toxic mental, physical and sexual abuse which started slow but escalated over time, including threats against my life, severe gaslighting and brainwashing, waking up to the man that claimed to love me raping what he believed to be my unconscious body,’ she told the subcommittee, though she did not name a perpetrator at the time.
The following year, she testified before California legislators on behalf of the Phoenix Act, legislation that altered the statute of limitations for crimes involving domestic violence.”
Rumors flew about who Wood was referring to, and it was assumed it was Warner given their former high-profile relationship. However, Wood did not clarify until recently. Yesterday, Wood wrote an Instagram post putting to rest speculation about who her abuser was; “The name of my abuser is Brian Warner, also known to the world as Marilyn Manson. He started grooming me when I was a teenager and horrifically abused me for years. I was brainwashed and manipulated into submission. I am done living in fear of retaliation, slander, or blackmail. I am here to expose this dangerous man and call out the many industries that have enabled him, before he ruins any more lives. I stand with the many victims who will no longer be silent.”
Other Women Step Forward
Although this is the first time Warner’s abuses have been laid out in such jarring detail, this is not the first accusation for the 80’s and 90’s rock icon. The New York Times shares, “In 2018, the actress Charlyne Yi accused Mr. Manson of harassment in a series of tweets that have since been deleted. In September 2020, Dan Cleary, who said that he had worked as an assistant to Mr. Manson for several years, wrote on Twitter that he had witnessed the singer being abusive.”
And since Wood has come forward, other women have spoken up about their experiences as well.
Vanity Fair shared excerpts from other statements addressing Wood’s accusations and their experiences with Warner;
- “Ashley Walters:’I continue to suffer from PTSD, and struggle with depression. I stayed in touch with quite a few people who went through their own traumas, under his control. As we all struggled, as survivors do, to get on with our lives, I’d keep hearing stories disturbingly similar to our own experiences. It became clear the abuse he’s caused; he continues to inflict on so many and I cannot stand by and let this happen to others. Brian Warner needs to be held accountable.’
- Sarah McNeilly: ‘I have been afraid to bring any spotlight upon myself as to avoid winding up in his crosshairs again. As a result of the way he treated me, I suffer from mental health issues and PTSD that have affected my personal and professional relationships, self-worth and personal goals. I believe he gets off on ruining people’s lives. I stand in support of all that have and all will come forward. I want to see Brian held accountable for his evil.’
- Ashley Lindsay Morgan: ‘I have night terrors, PTSD, anxiety, and mostly crippling OCD. I try to wash constantly to get him out or off of me…. I am coming forward so he will finally stop.’
- Gabriella: ‘It has taken me five years to speak out and say that I was in an abusive relationship. I have been diagnosed with PTSD and still suffer from nightmares. I blocked out a lot of the memories, but the feelings remain and manifest in various ways. The reason I’m finally sharing this traumatic experience is for my healing and because I’m done being silent. I don’t believe it’s fair for someone to not be held accountable for their horrific actions. I’m not a victim. I’m a survivor.’”
Also damningly, another of Manson’s former fiances – as Wood and Warner were briefly engaged as well – has offered support. Rose McGowan spoke out in support of her ex’s accusers on Twitter, saying, “I stand with Evan Rachel Wood and other brave women who have come forward. It takes years to recover from abuse and I send them strength on their journey to recovery. Let the truth be revealed. Let the healing begin.”
Per The Hill, “McGowan said she did not experience abuse while dating Manson but believed the women who said they did.
‘I am profoundly sad today and disgusted, but I am mostly proud ― proud of Evan Rachel Wood and the others who have come forward against Marilyn Manson, my ex,’ McGowan said in the video. ‘When he was with me, he was not like that. But that has no bearing on whether he was like that with others, before or after.’”
Disturbing and Abusive Behavior
In her testimony before the House Judiciary Subcommittee, Wood expanded upon her experiences of abuse at Warner’s hands, although he was not named at the time. A New York Times article revisits the horrifying testimony; “‘He cut me off from my close friends and family one by one, by exhibiting rage in some form or another when I was in contact with them,’ she said in her testimony. ‘He had bouts of extreme jealousy, which would often result in him wrecking our home, cornering me in a room and threatening me.’
She said that she felt terrified for her life, and that he broke her down through starvation and sleep deprivation, and by threatening to kill her. In one instance, he forced her to kneel in their bedroom, tied up her hands and feet, beat her and shocked sensitive parts of her body with a device called a violet wand.
When she tried to leave him, he would call her house incessantly, she said.
Mr. Manson told Spin magazine in 2009 that he had called Ms. Wood 158 times one day after a breakup. ‘I have fantasies every day about smashing her skull in with a sledgehammer,’ he said.
His representatives said last year, in response to questions by Metal Hammer, a music magazine, that Mr. Manson’s comment in Spin was ‘obviously a theatrical rock star interview promoting a new record.’
Mr. Manson described his views on women in a 2015 interview with Dazed, a style magazine.
‘Girls should always present themselves to you when you come home,’ he said. “‘Hi honey, I’m home,’ and she’s wearing lingerie, legs akimbo. ‘Come and get it, honey.’”
Warner Denies the Allegations, Says it Was All, ‘Consensual’
As a result of the accusations, specifically those most egregious shared by Wood herself, Warner’s record label Loma Vista has opted to drop the rocker. Rolling Stone explains; “In a statement, Loma Vista wrote: ‘In light of today’s disturbing allegations by Evan Rachel Wood and other women naming Marilyn Manson as their abuser, Loma Vista will cease to further promote his current album, effective immediately. Due to these concerning developments, we have also decided not to work with Marilyn Manson on any future projects.’”
Warner, for his part, denies the allegations categorically, claiming all interactions were consensual. Late Monday, Warner shared to his Instagram page, “Obviously, my life and my art have long been magnets for controversy, but these recent claims about me are horrible distortions of reality. My intimate relationships have always been entirely consensual with like-minded partners. Regardless of how – and why – others are now choosing to misrepresent the past, that is the truth.”
Wood remains unbowed in the face of Warner’s claims that it was consensual. In a 2019 interview, Wood explained why it’s so important to her to speak up and advocate for survivor’s rights; “‘I don’t want this to be my story,’ she says. ‘I hate that this is my story. I hate having to talk about it. I hate having to relive it. But that’s why I have to do it. If it’s not me, it’s going to be some other survivor.’”
Later, Wood added, “I used to think being strong was not being affected. And now, to me, being strong is letting it affect you but being able to move past it, and seeing the pain, walking through it, letting it flow through you, and then letting it leave. You can break and still be strong.”
So far, Warner has not responded to media request for statements aside from his Instagram post, but as Wood and her fellow survivors grow in confidence and companies begin to distance themselves from Marilyn Manson’s brand, it’s clear this is far from over.