Content warning: abuse. This piece was updated on February 8, 2021.
After years of bravely speaking out about being a survivor of abuse, actress Evan Rachel Wood has come out and named her abuser.
“The name of my abuser is Brian Warner, also known to the world as Marilyn Manson,” Wood, who testified before Congress about sexual and domestic abuse, wrote. “He started grooming me when I was a teenager and horrifically abused me for years. I was brainwashed and manipulated into submission. I am done living in fear of retaliation, slander, or blackmail. I am here to expose this dangerous man and call out the many industries that have enabled him before he ruins any more lives. I stand with the many victims who will no longer be silent.”
Wood, who is Jewish, dated Manson between 2006 and 2010. Their relationship started when she was 18 and he was 36. The couple was briefly engaged, and Wood was even said to have inspired his song “Heart-Shaped Glasses.”
Following Woods’ statement, others came forward with more allegations of abuse from Manson. The narratives all had harrowing similarities, including patterns of grooming, physical and psychological abuse, and controlling behavior — patterns that many abuse victims are intimately familiar with and that many of us know from other recent allegations, from Shia LaBeouf to Armie Hammer. Yet in the allegations against Manson, we also see examples of how one can use generational trauma, bigotry, and racism against their victims.
Actress Ashley Lindsay Morgan, who dated Manson between 2009 and 2010, recounted on her Instagram a disturbing pattern of antisemitic abuse that Manson enacted against her during their relationship: “When I was flying back and forth from Thailand, he asked me to bring him Nazi memorabilia, there is so much in Asia that was hidden during WW2. He wanted everything I could find… I brought him swastika throwing stars, knives, rings, it felt so wrong because I am Jewish. He said he only dates Jewish girls, and it was just a joke between us.”
Making your Jewish girlfriend bring you Nazi paraphernalia is truly disturbing psychological abuse. Another woman known just as Gabriella, who dated Manson in 2015 when she was a student, posted that racism was also one of the many facets of Manson’s alleged abuse: “He knew that my relatives are black and that I too share that DNA and would make fun of my race.”
Manson has responded to the allegations on Instagram. He called them “horrible distortions of reality” and added that he believes that his “intimate relationships have always been entirely consensual with like-minded partners.”
“It’s really hard to feel safe. I think about it every day, in one way or another,” Wood said through tears about the lasting impact of the trauma caused by the abuse in a public 2019 video. “I’m not okay. I don’t know what it feels like to not be scared.” In their posts, the other women making these allegations also describe similar long-term effects, from PTSD to night terrors.
Wood has also explained why she waited to speak out about the abuse. “When it happens, it’s very complicated; you lie to yourself, you’re being lied to,” she told Dax Shepard in 2019 on his podcast, Armchair Expert. “You lose a sense of self and your sense of reality because you’re stuck in this nightmare.”
It’s not uncommon for victims of abuse to wait to speak out (or to never speak out) about their trauma. There’s the fear of retaliation and of victim-blaming. And of course, many are concerned about not being believed. “I just thought to myself, no one is ever going to believe me. I’m unconventional. And I’m a person of color who is a female,” FKA Twigs said in a recent interview about her allegations against Shia LaBeouf.
But to come out bravely and publicly against their abuser in the way that Wood and these other women have can help others find the courage to talk about their own experiences of abuse, and save other potential victims from trauma.
“Thank you for sharing bravely,” Ilana Glazer commented on Wood’s Instagram post on Monday morning. “This will protect so many people.”
Update 2/8/2021: Since we first ran this article, Evan Rachel Wood has opened up about her own experiences with Manson’s alleged antisemitism. In a series of stories posted on Instagram on Friday, February 5, in which she also recalled Manson’s propensity for using the “n” word, Wood recounted how Manson allegedly used the Jewish faith she was brought up in against her.
Wood described how Manson would call her “Jew” in a “derogatory manner,” writing that he would draw swastikas on her bedside table whenever he was mad at her. She also recalled how Manson would say that because her mom was a convert to Judaism, Manson thought that was better because Wood wasn’t “blood Jewish.” She then shared a picture of her mom, Sara Wood, with a Jewish star necklace.