L.A. judge nixes much of Marilyn Manson’s defamation case against Evan Rachel Wood

Marilyn Manson wears smeared eye makeup and a turtleneck with a sparkly jacket
Marilyn Manson’s lawsuit against Evan Rachel Wood took a hit Tuesday.
(Evan Agostini / Invision/Associated Press)

A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge on Tuesday threw out much of Marilyn Manson‘s defamation case against Evan Rachel Wood, who has accused him of abuse.

The court has granted in part Wood’s motion to strike portions of Manson’s case, according to documents reviewed by The Times. The shock-rock musician — whose real name is Brian Warner — filed a defamation lawsuit against the “Westworld” actor in March 2022 after she publicly accused him of “horrifically” abusing her for years.

This week, the court rejected Manson’s claims that Wood pressured “multiple women to make false accusations” against him and fabricated an FBI letter to support her allegations. The court also found that Manson had not “demonstrated a probability of prevailing on his claims based on alleged defamation against Wood.”


In a court filing, ‘Westworld’ star Evan Rachel Wood said she ‘never pressured or manipulated’ Ashley Smithline to make accusations against Marilyn Manson.

Feb. 28, 2023

Additionally, the court approved a motion by artist Illma Gore to strike Manson’s claim that she engaged in “outrageous conduct” by “making knowingly false and defamatory statements against” him. Gore, a friend of Wood, appeared with the actor in “Phoenix Rising,” a two-part documentary about Wood’s journey to name her alleged abuser. The court found that Manson had not “demonstrated a probability of prevailing on his cause of action for defamation per se against Gore.”

“We are very pleased with the Court’s ruling, which affirms and protects Evan’s exercise of her fundamental First Amendment rights,” Wood’s lead attorney, Michael Kump, told Deadline after Tuesday’s hearing. “As the Court correctly found, [Manson] failed to show that his claims against her have even minimal merit.”

In February, Wood denied model Ashley Morgan Smithline‘s claim that Wood manipulated Smithline into making false accusations of rape and assault against their mutual ex, Manson. Smithline‘s allegation of coercion came after the model’s federal lawsuit against Manson was dismissed because she missed a court deadline to name new counsel.

Rocker Marilyn Manson is suing ex-fiancée Evan Rachel Wood and Illma Gore, claiming they hatched sexual-abuse allegations to torpedo his career.

March 2, 2022

Manson attorney Howard King referenced Smithline’s allegations against Wood in his response to Tuesday’s ruling.

“The ruling is disappointing but not unexpected,” King said, according to Deadline.

“The Court telegraphed this outcome when it refused to consider the bombshell sworn declaration of former plaintiff Ashley Smithline, which detailed how women were systematically pressured by Evan Rachel Wood and Illma Gore to make false claims about Brian Warner.

“The failure to admit this critical evidence, along with the Court’s decision to not consider Ms. Gore’s iPad, the contents of which demonstrated how she and Ms. Wood crafted a forged FBI letter, will be the subject of an immediate appeal to the California Court of Appeal,” he added.


According to Rolling Stone, a tentative trial date has been set for May 1, 2024.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.