Evan Rachel Wood filed court documents deny that he pressured a former accuser of Marilyn Manson to make allegations against the entertainer, saying the woman initiated contact with her through social media.
Last week, Ashley Morgan Smithline, who had previously filed a lawsuit and publicly accused Manson of abuse, filed a statement of support for the entertainer in Los Angeles County Superior Court in her defamation case against to Wood. Smithline said in the document that he publicly accused Manson of sexual assault and battery only because he was pressured by Wood.
Manson, whose legal name is Brian Warner, last year he filed a defamation suit accusing Wood of having “secretly recruited, coordinated and pressured” women to accuse him of abuse.
Wood said Manson “abused her horribly” for years.
He has denied any wrongdoing and has vowed to fight the charges.
In the latest legal filing, Wood also denied ever coercing or pressuring the women to make claims against Manson. She said Smithline first contacted her in 2019, more than a year before Smithline claims Wood reached out to her to meet with her co-accused.
Communication on social media
Wood denies pressuring Smithline to press charges and has included in the filing what she says is a screenshot of Instagram comments made by Smithline.
“Specifically, on March 11, 2019, I posted an Instagram post with quotes about being a survivor of domestic violence from a podcast I had appeared on,” Wood said in the filing. “At that time, I had spoken publicly about being an abuse survivor — including in testimony before the United States Congress — but had not yet named Mr. Warner publicly as my abuser.”
An account that Wood said belonged to Smithline that Wood’s post hit “hard.”
“When he held me prisoner in the stupid ballet studio, I cringed to hear him brag about taking that scene from the rules of attraction for you… I don’t think anyone will ever talk about it…” the comment read, according to the court filing.
Wood also included screenshots of direct messages with Smithline on Instagram, but the account no longer seemed identifiable as the messages appeared to come from just “Instagram User.” It is unclear if the account has been disabled or if Wood has been blocked.
But in screenshots of the May 2021 messages that Wood says came from Smithline, Smithline asks Wood how he’s doing and then says, “I can’t breathe. I have no reason to do this.”
Wood responded and encouraged Smithline to not let anyone get to her and to “sit” in her truth.
In her supporting statement, Smithline said she felt “manipulated” into making allegations against Manson after meeting with other women in October 2020. She said in the legal document that she had denied being abused when she spoke with Wood in 2020.
“When I said, no, that didn’t happen to me and that wasn’t my experience, I remember being told by Mrs. Wood that just because I didn’t remember it didn’t necessarily mean it didn’t happen,” Smithline said in his presentation. .
Wood claimed in his opposition that he had met Smithline in person only once, in the October 2020 meeting filmed for his HBO documentary “Phoenix Rising.” The only other times Wood said she spoke to Smithline were in direct messages on social media, even after Smithline went public about her allegations in a magazine interview.
“Prior to that meeting, I had never spoken to Ms. Smithline on the phone,” Wood said. “During the October 2020 meeting, Ms Smithline described the abuse she claimed Mr Warner inflicted on her. Ms Smithline has always told me she was abused by Mr Warner.”
Manson’s attorney called the allegations against his client “a coordinated #MeToo campaign of lies.”
Smithline’s public accusations
Smithline publicly accused Manson of physical, sexual and psychological abuse in a May 2021 interview with People magazine She filed a federal lawsuit in 2021 accusing Manson of sexual assault, human trafficking and illegal imprisonment.
Manson was accused of beating Smithline, carving his initials into her body, penetrating her while she was unconscious and other conduct. The People report included a photo of Smithline in a towel, showing what appeared to be a scar on her thigh that she referred to in the interview as having been caused by Manson.
A judge dismissed Smithline’s lawsuit without prejudice in January after his attorney, Jay Ellwanger, withdrew and Smithline did not respond to the court’s request for a ruling on new representation.
Wood’s lawyers claim in the filing against Smithline’s testimony that Manson’s lawyers reached out to Smithline in an effort to turn her against Wood and other accusers.
Wood’s attorneys cite voicemail messages Smithline sent to a friend in June 2022 and say Manson’s attorney tried to pressure Smithline to speak one-on-one with Manson, “without lawyers.”
Smithline told the friend, who was not identified by Wood’s attorneys, that she thought Manson’s attorney saw her as “a weak link” and that she “might want to agree with me to go back with the other girls and say it was all. like, a rusa.”
“Given that plaintiffs’ attorneys apparently had no qualms about contacting Smithline when she was represented by counsel, it should come as no surprise that they continued to pressure Smithline after her attorney withdrew and her federal lawsuit was dismissed. dismissed without prejudice,” Wood’s attorney said.
Manson’s attorney said in a statement Tuesday that he was not shocked that Wood was fighting that Smithline’s testimony was admissible in the defamation case, but that Smithline “told the truth.”
“I never discussed Ashley Smithline’s claims against Brian Warner until after she contacted me and terminated her attorney,” attorney Howard King said. “Furthermore, when Mrs. Smithline spoke with me recently for nearly two hours, we recorded the conversation in full and that recording proves that everything in her statement was taken from her words, not from mine.”
A representative for Smithline did not immediately respond to a request for comment from NBC News. Smithline said Rolling Stone that Wood was “full of shit.”
“That’s my comment,” Smithline said. “He says everything he can to discredit me.”
This article was originally published in NBCNews.com