Actress and burlesque performer Esmé Bianco has settled her lawsuit against Marilyn Manson for an undisclosed amount, drawing one battle of the singer’s legal war to a close. However, Bianco is far from the only woman to file a civil suit against the controversial singer.
Since launching his career in the late ’80s, Manson—whose real name is Brian Hugh Warner—has been accused of advocating for violence and depravity through his over-the-top goth persona. However, his reputation reached new lows during the #MeToo movement of the late 2010s when multiple women accused him of sexual abuse. Here’s what we know about the subsequent lawsuits the singer has faced.
Esmé Bianco Settles Her Lawsuit Against Manson
In April 2021, Game of Thrones actress Esmé Bianco filed a lawsuit against her ex-boyfriend, musician Marilyn Manson, for alleged sexual assault, sexual battery, and trafficking. Thinking Manson would help “launch her career,” Bianco—who’s originally from the UK—moved to California in 2011 and began a relationship with him. She’s since alleged that she endured “constant abuse,” both physical and sexual during their time together.
Interestingly, the presiding judge ruled Bianco’s case admissible despite the described events occurring a decade ago, long past the statute of limitations. According to the judge, the lasting effects of Manson’s abuse on Bianco’s personal and professional lives landed the defendant’s alleged offense well within the legal time window.
Since the suit was filed, we’ve had little updates on the case. That is until January 24 when Howard King, Manson’s lawyer released the following statement to Rolling Stone: “Ms. Bianco has agreed to resolve her claims against Brian Warner and Marilyn Manson Records, Inc.”
Ashley Walters’ Suit Was Dismissed With Prejudice
In May of 2021, Manson’s former personal assistant Ashley Walters filed her own civil suit against her former employer. According to the suit, Manson created an extremely toxic workplace environment during the year she spent in his employ. Walters, who worked for Manson from 2010 to 2011, alleges she endured sex discrimination, sexual harassment, sexual assault, interference with the exercise of civil rights in violation of the Bane Act, sexual battery, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
One year after Walters filed the suit, the presiding judge dismissed the case with prejudice, meaning she’s barred from refiling, per Billboard. The judge cited the statute of limitations, insisting that Walters failed to file within the proper time frame after she severed ties with Manson. Walters insists it isn’t that simple, though. According to the plaintiff, she feared retaliation from Manson if she spoke up.
Ashley Smithline’s Was Dismissed Without Prejudice
In June of 2021, model Ashley Morgan Smithline also filed a lawsuit against Manson. In the suit, she graphically described enduring nightmare-inducing abuse at the hands of Manson over the course of their two-year relationship. The singer has denied all of the allegations, insisting that he and Smithline dated for less than a week.
In late 2022, Smithline discharged her lawyer for unknown reasons. The presiding judge then advised her to find new counsel by December 5, but she either chose not to or was unable to do so. The judge subsequently dismissed her lawsuit without prejudice, meaning she can choose to refile at any time. It’s unclear why Smithline chose not to continue her legal battle, but, of course, Manson and his legal team insist it was because there was never a case to begin with.
“We thank and commend Ashley Smithline for dismissing her claims against Brian Warner without seeking or receiving anything in return,” Manson’s lawyer told Page Six. “Ms. Smithline has refused to be manipulated by others who are trying to pursue their own agendas against Mr. Warner. We wish her well and will continue to work to assure that a significant price will be paid by those who have tried to abuse our legal system.”
Jane Doe’s Suit Is Ongoing
In May of 2021, an anonymous woman filed a civil suit against Manson. According to the plaintiff, she dated the singer for years after meeting him at a pre-Grammy party in 2011. “Defendant lured plaintiff, a musician, into what was, at first, a consensual romantic relationship. A short time later, however, he raped Ms. Doe. He also subjected Ms. Doe to further degrading acts of sexual exploitation, manipulation, and psychological abuse,” the suit reads, via NBC News.
She describes Manson depriving her of food, subjecting her to violent outbursts, and even threatening to kill her. Her suit was initially dismissed for surpassing the statute of limitations and she was given 20 days to refile, which she did.
According to Doe, she repressed the traumatic memories and only rediscovered them after other women spoke up about Manson’s abuse. On the basis of “delayed discovery,” the suit was deemed admissible, per Billboard. The civil suit is still ongoing, and there have been very few updates since its 2021 filing.
Another Jane Doe Has Come Forward
In January 2023, Manson was served with a new lawsuit from an unnamed plaintiff who claims the musician sexually assaulted her multiple times between 1995 and 1999, starting just after the plaintiff turned 16 years old. The suit also includes Manson’s former record labels, Interscope Music and Nothing Records. Nothing was started by Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor, who has spoken out against Manson in the years since Manson was dropped from the label.
The accusations, to which Manson has not yet responded, include a litany of assaults against Jane Doe in addition to the claim that Manson threatened to kill her family if she ever said anything. This case has not seen the inside of a courtroom as yet and is in its very early stages, which is important to note.
Evan Rachel Wood Never Filed
Westworld actress Evan Rachel Wood has arguably been Manson’s most outspoken accuser over the years. According to Wood, she began a relationship with Manson when she was just 18 years old. Manson was 37 at the time. They dated on-and-off for about four and a half years and even became engaged in 2010. They ended their relationship seven months later.
She’s since described being groomed, raped, physically abused, drugged, and much, much more while dating the singer. Wood, who was raised in the Jewish faith, even suffered relentless antisemitic attacks from Manson, which included being hit with a Nazi whip from the Holocaust.
According to Wood, she never filed a civil suit against Manson because, by the time she fully understood the abuse she endured, the statute of limitations had run out. Since going public with her story, she’s been an outspoken advocate for victims’ rights. She even detailed her journey in the HBO docu-series Phoenix Rising, which premiered in 2022 and included the stories of multiple other Manson accusers.
Per Rolling Stone, Marilyn Manson and his legal team have filed a defamation lawsuit against Wood for the series.