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Marilyn Manson has always been a controversial figure in music.
Critics in the Nineties accused his lewd brand of heavy metal of promoting Satanism, degrading women and inciting violence, even blaming him for the Columbine High School massacre of 1999.
His career took a particularly sinister turn in 2021 when his former partner, Westworld star Evan Rachel Wood, accused Manson of psychologically and sexually abusing her.
More than a dozen other women have since come forward with similar accusations against the musician.
Manson (whose legal name is Brian Warner) has consistently denied sexually assaulting or abusing anyone, claiming that his “intimate relationships have always been entirely consensual with like-minded partners”.
Manson is next scheduled in court on 18 September in New Hampshire for which he is scheduled to plead no contest to spitting and blowing his nose on a videographer.
Below, The Independent has curated a timeline of the allegations facing the rock artist since Wood went public.
*Warning – this article contains graphic references to sexual assault that some readers may find upsetting*
1 February 2021 – Evan Rachel Wood publicly names Manson as her alleged abuser
After years of alleging that she was raped and abused, Wood named Manson as the alleged perpetrator.
“The name of my abuser is Brian Warner, also known to the world as Marilyn Manson,” Wood wrote on Instagram in a since-deleted post.
The actor accused Manson of “grooming” her when she was a teenager, “horrifically” abusing her for years as well as “brainwashing and manipulating” her “into submission”.
Manson and Wood began their relationship in 2007, when Wood was 18 and Manson was 36. They were engaged in January 2010, but called off their relationship seven months later.
Following Wood’s post, at least four other women shared their own allegations against Manson, including sexual assault, psychological abuse, and various forms of violence, coercion and intimidation.
Manson was dropped by his record label, Loma Vista, while his US publicist told The Independent they would no longer be working with him.
Manson responds to the allegations with a statement: “My intimate relationships have always been entirely consensual with like-minded partners. Regardless of how – and why – others are now choosing to misinterpret the past, that is the truth.”
In a post on social media, indie artist Phoebe Bridgers shared her support for Wood and the other woman who had come forward with allegations against Manson.
She also recalled visiting Manson’s house as a teenager where he allegedly pointed out a “rape room”.
“I went to Marilyn Manson’s house when I was a teenager with some friends,” Bridgers wrote.
“I was a big fan. He referred to a room in his house as the ‘r*pe room’, I thought it was just his horrible frat boy sense of humour. I stopped being a fan.”
In a lengthy Instagram post, The Lost Boys actor Feldman accused Manson of “decades-long mental and emotional abuse”.
Feldman, who also starred in The Goonies, claimed that Manson has been “obsessed” with him for over 20 years.
The then-49-year-old pointed to the “several passages about me in his book” Long Road Out of Hell, which was released in February 1998.
Feldman added that he first met the shock rocker at the premiere for Howard Stern’s 1997 film Private Parts in New York, where “the #GROOMING process began”.
“He grabbed my face in front of the crowd and kissed me w his Black Lip Stick that I couldn’t rub off all night.”
6 February 2021 – Wood accuses Manson of anti-Semitism
In an Instagram post, Wood claimed Manson called her “jew in a derogatory manner”. “He would draw swastikas over my bedside table when he was mad at me,” she added.
Wood further alleged that during their relationship, she “heard the N-word over and over”.
The actor also posted photographs of Manson’s arms, on which she had circled certain tattoos. Wood compared one of the tattoos – a skull and crossbones design – to the neo-Nazi symbol “totenkopf”, which was used as an emblem for an original branch of the SS.
Wood also drew attention to the “M-Swastika” tattoo on the singer’s chest. She stated that Manson did not have these tattoos when they first began dating.
8 February 2021 – Wolf Alice’s Ellie Rowsell says Manson filmed up her skirt with a GoPro
Days later, another young, female artist accused Manson of inappropriate sexual behaviour.
“I met Marilyn backstage at a festival a few years ago. After his compliments towards my band became more and more hyperbolic I became suspicious of his behaviour. I was shocked to look down and see he was filming up my skirt with a GoPro.”
She further claimed that Manson’s tour manager told her that the singer “does this kind of thing all the time”.
11 February 2021 –Game of Thrones actor Esmé Bianco names Manson as her alleged abuser
Bianco, who played a Winterfell sex worker in HBO’s Game of Thrones adaptation, dated Manson in 2011, after meeting him on the set of an unreleased music video.
Speaking to The Cut, Bianco alleged that Manson inflicted cuts and bruises that left permanent scars on her body while they were living together.
She also claimed that Manson chased her with an axe and would repeatedly play her sex scene in Game of Thrones to guests in order to humiliate her.
“I basically felt like a prisoner,” Bianco said. “I came and went at his pleasure. Who I spoke to was completely controlled by him. I called my family hiding in the closet.”
30 April 2021 – Bianco files a lawsuit against Manson
In a federal lawsuit, Bianco claimed that Manson violated human trafficking laws by bringing her to California from England under the false pretences of roles in music videos and movies that never materialised.
She alleged that in 2009, Manson flew her to Los Angeles to shoot a video for the song “I Want To Kill You Like They Do In The Movies”.
According to the suit, Manson allegedly deprived Bianco of food and sleep, plied her with alcohol and drugs, locked her in a bedroom, whipped her, gave her electric shocks, tried to force her to have sex with another woman and threatened to enter her room and rape her during the night. The music video was never released.
The suit also stated that Manson allegedly brought Bianco to Los Angeles again in 2011, ostensibly to appear in his feature film Phantasmagoria, which was also never released.
During that visit, Bianco alleged that Manson would not allow her to leave home without his permission, chased her around their apartment with an axe, cut her with a “Nazi knife” without her consent and photographed the cuts and posted the pictures online, also without her consent.
In an interview with People, model Smithline opened up about the alleged abuse Manson inflicted on her.
She accused Manson of raping her, cutting her and locking her in a glass, soundproof room – called “the bad girls’ room” – whenever she “pissed him off”. She claims to have been locked in the room more than 100 times.
Smithline recalled: “He kept telling me, ‘You can’t rape someone that you’re in love with.’”
The 36-year-old went on to claim that she was “brainwashed” by the musician over the course of two years, accusing him of carving his initials into her thigh.
A spokesperson for Manson denied Smithline’s accusations in a statement published by NME, stating: “There are so many falsehoods with her claims that we wouldn’t know where to begin to answer them.”
It went on to refute her claim that the pair’s relationship lasted two years between 2010 and 2012, instead alleging that it “didn’t last one week”.
In a lawsuit filed in LA by a Jane Doe accuser, an anonymous ex-girlfriend of Manson claims he subjected her to “degrading acts of sexual exploitation, manipulation and psychological abuse”.
During their relationship – which began in 2011, a year after Manson’s split with Wood – the woman claims Manson showed her a gruesome video tape titled “Groupie”, which the singer said he filmed in 1996 after a concert at the Hollywood Bowl.
On the tape, the woman claims to have seen a “seemingly young teenage fan” crying while being berated by Manson who allegedly threatens her with a gun and forces her to drink a glass of urine.
The woman said that the video left her scared for her own life. According to TMZ, a source close to the singer claimed the video was “a scripted short film to be used for a future project that was never officially released”.
Amid multiple claims of continued sexual assault, the Jane Doe accused Manson of raping her when she went to return a key to his home in 2011. After the alleged rape, the woman claims he threatened to kill her.
In September, a judge dismissed the lawsuit because the woman’s claims of “delayed discovery”, or having repressed memories, was not sufficient to overcome the statute of limitations, according to legal documents cited by TMZ.
18 August 2021 – Manson accused of spitting and blowing snot on woman
Manson is currently scheduled to plead no contest to blowing his nose on a videographer at a 2019 concert in New Hampshire.
According to the affidavit, Manson approached the videographer, put his face close to the camera and spit a “big lougee” at her. She was struck on both hands with saliva.
Manson allegedly returned a second time, covering one side of his nostril and blowing in Fountain’s direction.
Manson initially pleaded not guilty in 2021. His lawyer had said at the time that the type of filming Fountain was doing commonly exposes videographers to “incidental contact” with bodily fluids.
However, a notice of intent filed in July 2023 says that Manson is expected to plead no contest to only one charge, and that prosecutors would dismiss the other in the fully negotiated plea. A no-contest plea means Manson will not contest the charge and does not admit guilt.
Manson would face a sentence of a $1,200 fine with part of it suspended and 20 hours of community service within six months. Manson also would need to remain arrest-free and notify local police of any New Hampshire performances for two years.
14 November 2021 –Extensive report claims Manson’s apartment was ‘decorated with blood’
Rolling Stone spoke to more than 55 people who have known the shock rocker at various points in his life as part of the nine-month investigation.
In the report, one person who visited Manson’s apartment claimed that “there were vaginas everywhere,” while others claimed they saw “AIDS” spray-painted above his bed.
Another said the apartment was “decorated with blood, swastikas, and clipped photos from porno mags”.
14 November 2021 – Model Sarah McNeilly alleges ‘absolutely terrifying’ abuse by singer
As part of the Rolling Stone investigation, model Sarah McNeilly described the “terrifying” abuse she allegedly faced at the hands of the 52-year-old artist.
She claimed that Manson began abusing her and isolating her from her loved ones just weeks after they became romantically involved.
“The physical violence was almost a relief. Like, the mental s*** that he puts you through, that he infects your brain with, that he brainwashes you, you just want it to stop,” McNeilly alleged.
23 January 2022 – Wood claims Marilyn Manson ‘essentially raped her’ in music video
Wood accused Manson of “essentially [raping her] on-camera” during the filming of his 2007 video for “Heart-Shaped Glasses”.
The Golden Globe-nominated actor detailed her relationship with Manson in her documentary Phoenix Rising, which premiered 23 January at Sundance Film Festival.
Wood, who was 20 at the time, alleged that she was given absinthe on the set of the video, in which she was styled on a character from Stanley Kubrick’s 1962 film Lolita about a man who becomes sexually obsessed with an underage girl.
“It’s nothing like I thought it was going to be,” Wood says in the documentary. “We’re doing things that were not what was pitched to me. We had discussed a simulated sex scene, but once the cameras were rolling, he started penetrating me for real. I had never agreed to that … It was complete chaos.”
Days after the documentary’s premiere, Manson’s lawyer Howard King told The Independent: “Of all the false claims that Evan Rachel Wood has made about Brian Warner, her imaginative retelling of the making of the ‘Heart-Shaped Glasses’ music video 15 years ago is the most brazen and easiest to disprove, because there were multiple witnesses.”
27 April 2022 –Bianco expands allegations against Manson
In a new motion filed on 27 April, Bianco further claimed that Manson impeded her involvement in a planned video for rock band Deftones.
According to the motion: “In exchange for providing her images, Ms Bianco expected an economic benefit from significant public exposure via the band’s worldwide tour and the opportunity to continue working with the highly sought-after creative director who oversaw the project.”
After discovering Bianco was involved with the project, the motion claims that Manson – real name Brian Warner – contacted the band to “confront them over Deftones’ decision to work with Ms Bianco”.
It further claims that Warner “used his power and influence in the entertainment industry to interfere with Ms Bianco’s ability to continue working with Deftones”.
Bianco has alleged that this interference resulted in “reputational damage” and “loss of future economic opportunity” with Deftones.
The lawsuit between Bianco and Manson was eventually settled in January this year. The exact terms of the agreement are unknown.
30 January 2023 – Manson is sued for alleged sexual assault of a minor
An anonymous woman alleged in a filing this year that Manson groomed and sexually assaulted her numerous times in the Nineties when she was underage.
She alleged that she and a group of other people had been waiting outside Manson’s tour bus to meet him when he invited her “and one of the other younger girls” onto the bus. She alleges he asked them their age, grade in school and wrote down their phone numbers and home addresses.
“While on the tour bus, Defendant Warner performed various acts of criminal sexual conduct upon Plaintiff, who was a virgin at the time, including but not limited to forced copulation and vaginal penetration,” the lawsuit read.
“Plaintiff was in pain, scared, upset, humiliated and confused. After he was done, Defendant Warner laughed at her. … Then Defendant Warner demanded Plaintiff to ‘get the f*** off of my bus’ and threatened Plaintiff that, if she told anyone, he would kill her and her family.”
In a statement to The Independent, King responded to the latest lawsuit, saying Warner “does not know this individual and has no recollection of ever having met her 28 years ago”.
“He certainly was never intimate with her. She has been shopping her fabricated tale to tabloids and on podcasts for more than two years. But even the most minimal amount of scrutiny reveals the obvious discrepancies in her ever-shifting stories as well as her extensive collusion with other false accusers,” King added.
“Brian will not submit to this shakedown – and the courts won’t fall for it either.”
Rape Crisis offers support for those affected by rape and sexual abuse. You can call them on 0808 802 9999 in England and Wales, 0808 801 0302 in Scotland, and 0800 0246 991 in Northern Ireland, or visit their website at www.rapecrisis.org.uk. If you are in the US, you can call Rainn on 800-656-HOPE (4673)