Marilyn Manson settles rape lawsuit, victim cites trial’s lack of anonymity
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Since 2021, more than a dozen women, including actresses Evan Rachel Wood and Esmé Bianco, have come forward to accuse Marilyn Manson (née Brian Warner) of rape, sexual assault and battery, human trafficking, abuse, exploitation, and more. Many of his accusers spoke to Rolling Stone in 2021 and several have filed legal actions against him. Wood spoke out about her abuse in the docuseries “Phoenix Rising” and became so afraid of retribution from Manson that she gave primary custody of her 10-year-old son to his dad, Jamie Bell.
Bianco, who also claimed that Manson violated California human trafficking laws, settled with him outside of court back in January 2023. One of the women that Manson allegedly abused was due to go to trial against him next week. But just like with Bianco, this lawsuit, filed by a Jane Doe, also settled before the trial started and will likely be dismissed within the next 45 days. She and another woman filed anonymously for fear of their own safety. Jane Doe #1 spoke out, saying that she feared losing her anonymity if it had gone to trial, citing the threats, harassment, and intimidation she’s received over the past few years.
Doe’s suit, filed in 2021, alleged that the singer, whose real name is Brian Warner, raped her and deprived her of food, sleep, and a sense of safety. She claimed he threatened to “bash her head in” if she reported the abuse, which she said occurred in 2011.
“I was fully prepared for trial and never in a million years thought I would ever settle, but over the past two-and-a-half years I have silently endured threats, bullying, harassment and various forms of intimidation that have intensified over the past few weeks,” Doe says in a statement to Rolling Stone. “Marilyn Manson attended my deposition, and I was forced to answer seven hours of aggressive questioning with him staring at me from across the table. I’ve been told that this almost never happens, as it’s cruel, and that a main reason for it would be to intimidate and inflict emotional distress on a victim.
“I never cared about money and only ever wanted justice, but if we had gone to trial, I could have lost my right to anonymity and been victim-blamed on a large and public scale,” she adds. “Most importantly I could have risked losing the freedom to tell my story, and that is worth more than anything in the world.”
The terms of the settlement are not public. “Brian is pleased that, just as previous lawsuits were abandoned without payment or settled for pennies on the dollar, this plaintiff has now agreed to drop her suit in exchange for an insurance payment representing a fraction of her demands and far less than the cost to Brian of proceeding to trial,” Warner’s attorney, Howard King, says in a statement.
“If any other victims are reading this,” Doe says, “please know that you are loved and supported even if it doesn’t feel that way, and that in spite of everything I’ve been through I don’t for one second regret speaking up.”
“I am honored to have supported Ms. Doe,” Doe‘s lawyer, Wolf, says. “My law firm stands with those who bravely push back against misconduct in all forms, especially by high-profile, powerful men. We are dedicated to fighting for justice, no matter how long it takes. You are not alone.”
Another lawsuit by another Jane Doe, alleging years of grooming and abuse that began when she was a minor, is ongoing and remains the only outstanding legal action against Warner. The other Doe claims she first met Warner 1995 when she was 16 years old. She alleged that members of Warner’s band watched him sexually assault her. He maintained contact with her, according to her suit, over many years, and when she was 19, he “perpetuated his grooming, manipulation, exploitation and sexual assault of Plaintiff” and allegedly coerced her into sex. Through his attorney, Warner denied the allegations.
I think it’s very brave for Wood, Bianco, the Jane Does, and every other woman to speak out about what happened to them. Reading some of the things he allegedly did to them is absolutely horrific. It’s so infuriating that after all that these women went through, they’re still being harassed and intimidated. I don’t blame them for settling to preserve their anonymity and help ensure their safety. All it takes is one charismatic abuser with a fan base and a huge PR budget and suddenly, the lines of victimhood are blurred. I hope Jane Doe and the other women who suffered by Manson’s hands find peace and recovery.
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