Shock rocker Marilyn Manson faces a major setback in his ongoing defamation case against Evan Rachel Wood.
A California judge has thrown out most of American shock rock musician Marilyn Manson’s defamation case against Evan Rachel Wood over the Westworld actress’ claims of abuse.
“The Court grants Wood’s special motion to strike in part,” wrote LA Superior Court Judge Teresa A. Beaudet in a multi-pronged tentative order that has become final.
While Manson’s case can proceed, the majority of Manson’s suit of March 2022 has been gutted – including claims of Wood penning a fictitious FBI letter and his assertion that Wood “recruited, coordinated, and pressured” women to make false statements about him.
“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.
“As the Court correctly found, Plaintiff failed to show that his claims against her have even minimal merit.”
At the heart of Manson’s suit against Wood is Phoenix Rising, the two-part documentary on the singer and his supposed cycles of abuse, which premiered at the virtual 2022 Sundance Film Festival.
The team representing Manson – whose real name is Brian Warner – responded by saying: “The ruling is disappointing but not unexpected. 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,” added Manson’s lawyer Howard King.
Manson’s suit came a year after Wood, 35, took to social media in 2021 to publicly named her ex-fiancée for a pattern of abuse and “grooming” her during their 2007 to 2010 relationship. In 2017, Wood told a Congressional committee that she had been raped and repeatedly abused but did not actually give a name of who the alleged predator was.
Manson was dropped by his record label and CAA representation after Wood named Manson. The singer said the claims were “horrible distortions of reality.”
Earlier this year, British 'Game of Thrones' actor Esmé Bianco settled her lawsuit against Manson, which accused him of physical, mental, and sexual abuses, including rape.
A number of cases and claims against Manson have been settled, dismissed or dropped in the past year.