For years, actress and activist Evan Rachel Wood has spoken out about living as a survivor of sexual violence. Now, she’s decided to name her alleged abuser publicly—Brian Warner, better known as the shock-rock musician and actor Marilyn Manson.
In a Monday morning Instagram post, she 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 is not alone. In the wake of her post, four other women described their alleged abuse at the hands of Warner. Vanity Fair named them as Ashley Walters, Sarah McNeilly, Ashley Lindsay Morgan, and an artist identified as Gabriella; they have all posted their own statements on Instagram.
Wood’s past with Warner is well-documented. The actress said she met Warner 15 years ago, when she was 18 years old and he was 36, and they got engaged in January 2010 before breaking it off later that year. She has never publicly accused him of being her abuser—but has frequently spoken out about abuse she suffered in order to help other survivors.
In a 2016 interview, she told Rolling Stone: “I’ve been raped. By a significant other while we were together. And on a separate occasion, by the owner of a bar... I don’t believe we live in a time where people can stay silent any longer. Not given the state our world is in with its blatant bigotry and sexism.”
In 2018, she recalled her horrific experiences in front of a House Judiciary subcommittee to help get the federal Sexual Assault Survivors Bill of Rights passed on a state level and to give a voice to fellow survivors.
The actress told lawmakers at the time: “My experience with domestic violence was this: Toxic mental, physical and sexual abuse which started slow but escalated over time, including threats against my life, severe gaslighting and brainwashing, waking up to the man that claimed to love me raping what he believed to be my unconscious body.”
On Monday night, Warner denied the allegations in an Instagram post. “Obviously my art and life have long been magnets for controversy, but these recent claims about me are horrible distortions of reality,” he said. “My intimate relationships have always been entirely consensual with like-minded partners. Regardless of how — and why — others are now choosing to misrepresent the past, that is the truth.”
Warner has previously publicly described his violent fantasies about his ex. In a 2009 interview with Spin, he said he cut himself every time she didn’t answer a call from him “to show her the pain she put me through,” and said: “I have fantasies every day about smashing her skull in with a sledgehammer.”
In a 2019 interview, Wood said that she has learned to live with her history of abuse, telling Self: “I used to think being strong was not being affected. And now, to me, being strong is letting it affect you but being able to move past it, and seeing the pain, walking through it, letting it flow through you, and then letting it leave. You can break and still be strong.”
In November, Warner immediately ended an interview with Metal Hammer after being asked about Wood.