Evan Rachel Wood Responds to Manson Lawsuit on ‘The View’ – ‘I am Not scared’
In advance of the release of Evan Rachel Wood's Phoenix Rising documentary, which chronicles her past relationship with Marilyn Manson and her allegations of abuse that prompted her to later name him publicly as her abuser, the actress opened up about both the film and the defamation lawsuit the industrial musician recently filed against her on an episode of daytime talk show The View.
She said the objective of Phoenix Rising, the second part of which premieres tonight (March 15) on HBO, is not to clear her name, but rather to "protect people" and "sound the alarm that there is a dangerous person out there."
Several women have sued Manson (real name Brian Hugh Warner) for sexual assault after Wood initially came forth with her claims of assault and, in speaking about the beginning of her relationship with the musician when she was 19, she explained how the process of grooming works.
"In the first place, I was not drawn to him — he was drawn to me," Wood affirmed when asked what first drew her to Manson.
"He approached me under the guise of work, false promises," the actress continued, "And that is part of the grooming process. He was grooming me the second he said hello. Grooming is when you present a false persona to somebody and you tell them lies to lure them into a false sense of security so that they become vulnerable around you. They start opening up, they start giving up their secrets and vulnerabilities. You're mining information. It's the epitome of a wolf in sheep's clothing. Once they have the information, once they know that you feel safe, they know that the manipulation can start."
Wood also touched on her past suicide attempt at age 22, which took place during her relationship with Manson. "When somebody aids in the destruction of your self, and you forget who you are, you feel pretty broken and empty," she explained and went on to note that suicide was "another form of escape."
The failed attempt to take her own life was something Wood called a "turning point" in her life. "I'm at the bottom so there's no way to go but up," she added before referring to herself as a phoenix rising from the ashes.
Wood also noted that the #MeToo movement gave her "a lot of hope" now that "domestic violence has had its day" and words such as "grooming and gaslighting" are coming to the forefront as more people understand the scope and depth of abuse.
Still, the actress felt there is still more progress to be made on understanding and dealing with these issues at large.
"Society around this issue is so geared around shame and victim blaming and that is by design. Even the way we speak about these things... we're still asking victims the question why they didn't leave. And the fact that we're still asking that question tells me how much work there is to do. Nobody ever asks why the abuser didn't leave. If he was so upset, if he hated you so much... 'Why are you hitting her? Why don't you just leave?' We're programmed to say these things and ask these questions, but we need to start asking different questions," Wood demanded.
When pressed about the defamation lawsuit Manson filed against her, Wood explained, "I can't speak about any of the specific allegations of the lawsuit, but I am not scared. I am sad because this is how it works. This is what pretty much every survivor that tries to expose someone in a position of power goes through. This is part of the retaliation that keeps survivors quiet. This is why people don't want to come forward. This was expected."
Undeterred, the actress went on, "I'm very confident I have the truth on my side and that the truth will come out and this this [lawsuit] is clearly timed before the documentary — there's a reason. Again, I'm not doing this [film] to clear my name, I'm doing this to protect people. I'm doing this to sound the alarm that there is a dangerous person out there and I don't want anybody getting near him. People can think whatever they want about me, I have to let the legal process run its course. I'm steady as a rock."
"I have a platform. I'm privileged, I'm white. I have resources," Wood acknowledged before lamenting the more significant hurdles many other survivors of abuse may face, "...and we should all be alarmed — I have these things in my corner and I'm still struggling."
Manson is suing Evan Rachel Wood for allegedly making false and defamatory claims about him. "There will come a time when I can share more about the events of the past year," Manson recently shared in an online post. "Until then, I'm going to let the facts speak for themselves," he added, then linking to the details of his current lawsuit against Wood.
In his suit, Manson alleges several complaints including intentional infliction of emotional distress, defamation per se, violation of the Comprehensive Computer Data and Access Fraud Act and impersonation over the internet. His case ultimately argues that Wood and Illma Gore created a conspiracy, using fraud, in order to defame him and profit off of it.
Watch Wood's full interview below and, for a detailed series of events regarding the lawsuits against Manson, as well as his legal responses, view the timeline beneath the video player.
If you or someone you know is facing abuse, visit the National Domestic Violence Hotline website. A disclaimer on the website notes that if you are concerned your internet usage is being monitored, an alternative option is to call 800-799-SAFE (800-799-7233).
Resources for sexual assault are also available. Visit the RAINN website (Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network) or dial 800-656-HOPE (800-656-4673).