Shock rocker Marilyn Manson has suffered a legal setback in his defamation case against Westworld actress Evan Rachel Wood. The case was filed in March 2022, a year after Wood accused Manson of abuse and grooming during their relationship.
The case was largely dismissed by Judge Teresa A. Beaudet in a recent tentative order, citing California’s anti-SLAPP statute and the protection of free speech. Manson’s attempts to taint Wood’s reputation were among the claims dismissed. While Manson’s case can proceed on the remaining counts, the most significant claims have been quashed for the time being.
Judge Teresa A. Beaudet dismissed many of the claims in Marilyn Manson’s defamation case against Evan Rachel Wood, protecting Wood’s First Amendment rights.
Wood’s lead attorney, Michael Kump, expressed his satisfaction with the ruling, stating that it affirmed Wood’s First Amendment rights. However, Manson’s legal team had a different interpretation of the decision and plans to appeal. Manson’s lawyer, Howard King, criticized the court’s failure to consider “critical evidence,” including a former plaintiff’s sworn statement, which detailed how women were systematically pressured by Wood and Illma Gore to make false claims about Manson.
Manson’s defamation case is centered around Phoenix Rising, a two-part documentary that premiered at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival. The documentary explores Manson’s alleged cycles of abuse and violence. Manson tried to stop the film from being shown on HBO, but his efforts were unsuccessful. The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department’s Special Victims Bureau has launched a probe into multiple allegations of abuse against Manson between 2009 and 2011, but no action has been taken by the DA’s office so far.
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Manson has faced numerous claims of abuse and harassment by various women in the past year. Some of these cases have been settled, dismissed, or dropped, while others are still pending. Wood’s allegations against Manson in February 2021 were followed by claims from other women, including Game of Thrones actress Esmé Bianco. Manson has denied the allegations against him, calling them “horrible distortions of reality.”