Model Ashley Morgan Smithline has filed a lawsuit against Marilyn Manson, whose real name is Brian Warner, claiming sexual assault, sexual battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, human trafficking, and unlawful imprisonment, among other allegations. Smithline is the fourth woman to sue the shock rocker, following suits by Game of Thrones actress Esmé Bianco, Warner’s former personal assistant Ashley Walters, and a woman who has chosen to remain anonymous. She is also among more than a dozen women to allege sexual impropriety against Warner.
Smithline’s lawsuit echoes much of what she said previously in an interview with People. Warner first contacted the model around the summer of 2010, allegedly telling her that he wanted to cast her in a film. The suit claims the singer became infatuated with her as the conversation continued, and he told her she “was the perfect girl for him” and asked for her to send photos of herself. She says that in November of that year, he flew her to Los Angeles with the incentive that he would cast her in a remake of True Romance and she says soon after her arrival, he asked her to move in with him.
By allegedly enticing Smithline to move to Los Angeles from Bangkok, where she was modeling at the time they first spoke, and encouraging her to transition from modeling to acting with the promise of work in a film, she claims he violated the Trafficking Victims Protection Act. “Mr. Warner knew these offers to be fraudulent. No effort was made to complete production of the film project and to date nothing from that project has been published,” the suit claims. “Mr. Warner merely used the film project as a pretense to lure Ms. Smithline to the United States.” (Marilyn Manson Records, a company Warner set up in the late Nineties, was named as a codefendant.)
The tone of the relationship quickly took a turn, according to the suit, as Warner would berate her in front of his band members; she says he insisted she wear black lingerie and makeup while at the film studio, which was also his apartment. They entered into a consensual sexual relationship, though that changed too according to Smithline. She says she woke one day from an unconscious state with her wrists and ankles bound and Warner was penetrating her. When she told him to stop, she says he told her to “shut the fuck up” and “be quiet.” She says he bruised her ribs in the incident and caused injury to her vagina. “He kept telling me, ‘You can’t rape someone that you’re in love with,’” she said in the People interview.
The model says he assaulted her again shortly after the first alleged incident, choking her as he forced her onto his bed; she claims he placed a pillow over her head after she said “no” several times. He then used a knife, according to the suit, to cut her shoulder, inner arm, and shoulder, drawing blood. The suit reinforces Smithline’s allegation in the People interview that Warner left scars on her body. On another occasion, she alleges he branded her by carving “MM” into her thigh, which left a permanent mark.
She claims he also frequently bit her, throughout the time she knew him, leaving marks. “The abuse escalated into Mr. Warner shaking Ms. Smithline and strangling her by putting his hand in her mouth,” the lawsuit says. “On yet another occasion, Mr. Warner threw a Nazi knife at Ms. Smithline, only barely missing her face. Mr. Warner also burned Ms. Smithline.” He also allegedly whipped her several times, including one time when he gave her 15 to 20 lashes while she was lying in bed; he allegedly posted photos of the bruises to the internet. This abuse lasted for months, she says.
Smithline continued her association with Warner through January 2013, visiting him between modeling jobs in Asia. She says she continued to do so as a result of the “severe mental duress” Warner’s abuse inflicted on her. If she told him she wanted to leave him, she says he would threaten her life. The suit claims he would tell her he would “find her” and “kill her if she left him”; on other occasions, she says he would tell her casually that he “could kill her right now.”
“We strongly deny Ms. Smithline’s claims,” a rep for Warner said in a statement to Rolling Stone. “There are so many falsehoods within her claims that we wouldn’t know where to begin to answer them. This relationship, to the limited extent it was a relationship, lasted less than a week in 2010. Manson hasn’t seen Ms. Smithline since then.”
During the time they knew each other, Warner allegedly took photos of Smithline that were sexual and refused to give them to her. The suit says he used these as blackmail, “telling Ms. Smithline that he would ‘ruin [her] in a heartbeat’ with all the photos he had of her and that ‘[her] career would end.’”
Smithline, who is Jewish, also alleged emotional abuse by alleging that Warner requested she bring him Nazi paraphernalia from her travels. She consented, bringing him throwing stars, a mask, and a knife — all decorated with swastikas. “Mr. Warner knew Ms. Smithline was Jewish and played this traumatizing behavior off as a joke between the two of them,” the suit claims. “Nonetheless, Mr. Warner demanded that Ms. Smithline purchase as much Nazi memorabilia that she could find. Mr. Warner would refer to Ms. Smithline as a ‘dirty Jew’ and a ‘kike’ when he was angry with her.”
“Mr. Warner interfered with Ms. Smithline’s civil rights regarding her religion and her right to be free from sexual discrimination and harassment,” the suit adds.
Smithline claims that she suffers post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of the relationship, as she felt she had to prove herself to Warner. “Through his physical, emotional, and verbal abuse, Mr. Warner exercised total control over Ms. Smithline, to the point that Ms. Smithline became powerless and brainwashed by Mr. Warner,” the suit says. She further details Warner’s alleged psychological abuse by claiming he made her watch disturbing films. “Ms. Smithline was forced to watch clips of movie scenes depicting gruesome suicides and child pornography,” the suit says. “This was so intense it left Ms. Smithline wondering if Mr. Warner wanted her to kill herself. Again, this was intentional conduct motivated by Mr. Warner’s sexual desires.”
Several women, including Warner’s ex-fiancée Evan Rachel Wood, came forward in early February with allegations of abuse. Since then, Warner’s record label, booking agent, and manager severed ties with him. His planned appearances on the TV shows American Gods and Creepshow were also canceled.
“I didn’t know you could rape someone that you were in a relationship with,” Smithline told People. “There’s a difference between waking up to someone having sex with you nicely in the morning and waking up tied up with someone having sex with your unconscious body, being tied up and screaming and not enjoying it, and him laughing, like, sadistically, or gagging my mouth or something.” In the interview, she described Warner as “most terrifying monster in the world.”
Ashley Morgan Smithline’s Lawsuit Against Marilyn Manson
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