Ashley Morgan Smithline, One of Marilyn Manson’s Accusers, Recants Her Allegation
One of the women who accused Marilyn Manson of sexual assault and abuse alongside the actress Evan Rachel Wood in 2021, Ashley Morgan Smithline (AKA Ashley Lindsay Morgan), says in a new legal filing that the allegations were untrue and that she was "manipulated" by Wood, according to a report.
The sworn statement from Smithline, filed by the singer's lawyers Feb. 23, claims Smithline was "manipulated by Ms. Wood" to agree to "spread publicly false accusations of abuse" against Manson.
"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 writes, as Page Six reported this week. "I started to believe that what I was repeatedly told happened to Ms. Wood and [others] also happened to me."
Wood's spokesperson denied Smithline's accusations. "Evan never pressured or manipulated Ashley," they responded, claiming Smithline "first contacted Evan about the abuse she had suffered. It's unfortunate that the harassment and threats Ashley received … appear to have pressured her to change her testimony."
The Allegations Against Marilyn Manson
Two years ago, Wood named Manson as her alleged abuser. Four others — Smithline, Sarah McNeilly, Ashley Walters and a woman named Gabriella — joined her in sharing their own accusations. Subsequent accusers included actress Esmé Bianco.
Manson has refuted all allegations. "My art and my life have long been magnets for controversy, but these recent claims about me are horrible distortions of reality," he said in 2021. "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."
Smithline Takes Back Her Accusation
As summarized by Billboard, Smithline claims she was initially contacted by other alleged victims, but that when she denied abuse occurred to her, she was told repeatedly she might not remember it.
"While at first I knew Mr. Warner did not do these things to me, I eventually began to question whether he actually did," Smithline writes.
"On numerous occasions, I was told … that I may just be misremembering what happened, repressing my memories of what happened, or that my memories had not yet surfaced," she adds, "which they said happened to people against whom these acts were perpetrated."
Once Smithline agreed to particpate, she says that Illma Gore, an associate of Wood's, drafted an accusation statement for her and posted it to her account.
"Leading up to the filing of the complaint, I felt pressured … to go on a press tour, which included an interview on The View and an interview and photoshoot," Smithline says. "I was very uncomfortable doing this press but felt pressured to do it." Smithline also claims she didn't receive money from Manson.
See a timeline of the allegations under the video.
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, resources are available to help. Please visit RAINN (the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network) online or dial 1-800-656-HOPE (800-656-4673).