marilyn manson
Marilyn Manson - Photo courtesy of Jack Fordyce on Shutterstock

A second woman Marilyn Manson has sued for defamation in addition to Evan Rachel Wood is also challenging the shock rocker’s case on First Amendment grounds, with her lawyers noting in court papers that his suit was brought just two weeks before Wood’s “Phoenix Rising” documentary aired.

In the documentary, Wood alleges that she was “essentially raped on camera” by Manson, her former fiance, during the filming of the video for 2007’s “Heart-Shaped Glasses.”

“The timing was no accident,” attorneys for Wood’s co-defendant, Ashley Gore, state in court papers filed Wednesday in Los Angeles Superior Court asking for dismissal of portions of the case. “The complaint is a classic example of an anti-SLAPP suit, seeking to punish defendants Evan Rachel Wood and Ashley Gore for their petitioning activity, free speech in connection with a matter of public interest through the documentary and their communications with Manson’s other accusers, and work with law enforcement in the ongoing investigation into (Manson).”

In April, Wood’s attorneys filed court papers seeking dismissal of parts of Manson’s complaint against her, also citing free speech. In a sworn declaration, Wood, 34, says that during the course of the relationship, Manson “raped me, tortured me, tied me up, beat me, starved me, deprived me of sleep and shocked sensitive parts of my body.”

The state’s anti-SLAPP — Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation — law is intended to prevent people from using courts, and potential threats of a lawsuit, to intimidate those who are exercising their First Amendment rights.

In his suit filed March 2, Manson alleges Wood and Gore — who the suit describes as the actress’ “on-again, off-again romantic partner” — falsely portrayed him as a “a rapist and abuser,” derailing his “successful music, TV and film career.”

According to Manson’s suit, the allegedly false sexual abuse allegations against him prompted his record label and manager to drop him and he also lost his role in the TV show “American Gods.”

The suit alleges Gore had multiple conversations with prospective “accusers” against the singer in which she claimed that a 1996 short film made by Manson called “Groupie” depicted child abuse and child pornography. During one such conversation in 2021, Gore said the actress in “Groupie” was a minor at the time of the shoot and was dead, and that, if the video were to be seen, Manson would be indicted, according to the suit.

“Gore’s statements about Warner and “Groupie” are demonstrably false,” the suit states. “Gore knew they were false or acted with reckless disregard of their falsity.”

Wood decided that with Gore’s help, she could be rebranded from someone who might at best be known for dating Marilyn Manson into an “outspoken standard bearer for victims of domestic violence or sexual assault, thereby absolving her reputation for having a wild past and her embarrassment for having been in a long-term relationship with Marilyn Manson,” the suit states.

Wood and Gore forged and distributed a phony letter from a supposed FBI agent to create the false appearance that Manson’s alleged victims and their families were in danger, the suit states.

“They provided checklists and scripts to prospective accusers, listing the specific alleged acts of abuse that they should claim against (Manson),” the suit states.

But according to Gore’s attorneys’ court papers, “Phoenix Rising” documents Gore’s efforts to “amass evidence for an ongoing criminal investigation of Warner, and provided such evidence to law enforcement, including compiling and organizing information from allegations, including those made publicly, by Warner’s victims.”

A documentary film on a matter of public interest such as abuse and domestic violence “is protected activity for purposes of the anti-SLAPP statute,” Gore’s lawyers argue in their court papers.

A hearing on Woods’ motion is scheduled Dec. 13 before Judge Teresa A. Beaudet, while Gore’s motion will be heard by the same judge on Jan 31.

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