If you’re similar to me or in my age demographic, you might not have known too much about Marilyn Manson before last week. Manson’s first studio album, Portrait of an American Family was released in 1994—three years before I was born; until very, very recently, I had known of Manson, the makeup, the ~edgy~ lyrics, the hyper-Goth style, but beyond that, to me he was just a staple of the 90s, like butterfly clips, and heroine, destined to fade into obscurity with time.
Throughout my years of consuming pop culture, I had come to an understanding—or maybe assumption—that Marilyn Manson was somewhat of a poster child for the misunderstood Goth kid that resided in all of us (some more than others) in high-school. He expressed himself with anger and rage and big, shocking statements. He liked to look like a vampire and scare white conservative mothers, but ultimately, his persona was a part of his art and expression, and underneath he was a moral guy.
When Manson did interviews throughout his career, regardless of his makeup and clothing, he usually came out looking level-headed and well-spoken. When Manson appeared on Bill O’Reilly’s conservative news segment The O’Reilly Factor in 2001, he spoke very calmly and with purpose. He explains to O’Reilly that his music is meant to make people think over their values and ask themselves why they hold them; he calls himself shy and says he uses his music and performance to combat his anxiety. Open-minded viewers and fans of his would’ve left the interview feeling as though Manson was an expressive artist, but deep down, just a regular guy.
Unfortunately, many abusers and narcissists operate under this formula, being very calm and level-headed towards the world and effectively duping their audience—whether it be an audience of one or millions—into believing in their morality and innate goodness, regardless of if it is present. Last week, under a slew of new accusations and allegations of sexual, physical, and emotional abuse, Manson’s persona has been completely unraveled, revealing decades of horrific behavior.
Where did it start? What do we know so far? For both mine and your own benefit, I’m compiling a timeline of Manson’s accusations and what has happened so far, as I sit and write this on February 11th, 2021.
Exactly 23 years ago this month, Manson published his autobiography, The Long Road Out of Hell, and subsequently, the first documentation of Manson’s abuse towards women. The book is full of Manson admitting pretty disgusting things, which is a testament to either his foolishness as a young man or a testament to his hubris and arrogance as an “untouchable” famous person.
One of several disturbing incidences written in the book details his plot to stalk and kill a woman—a former romantic interest and band mate. In Manson’s own words, he writes about the experience “This was the first time I had ever seriously considered murder. … She had to die,” Later expressing “While I didn’t think it was right to take a human life, I didn’t think it was right to deny myself the chance of causing someone to die either, especially someone whose existence meant so little to the world and to herself,”.
In the same book, Manson also details stalking a woman he was attracted to and calling in death threats to her workplace, sexually assaulting drunk women, and horrifically humiliating a deaf fan during sex, and eventually urinating on her.
November 1998–Lawsuit For Threatening to Kill an Editor
In the same year that Manson’s horrific autobiography was published, Manson ended up being sued by executive editor of SPIN magazine, Craig Marks, for allegedly threatening to kill the editor in a dispute over the magazine cover. Manson himself later admits to putting a gun in the editor’s mouth, in the same rolling stones article that he admits to smoking human bones.
August 2001–Manson Charged with Sexual Assault and Battery
Manson is charged a $4000 settlement in Detroit for sexually assaulting a security guard when Manson spit on the man’s head and then rubbed his genitals on the back of his head and neck. Although this was not towards a woman with whom he was romantically involved, the incident shows that Manson did not, and does not respect consent and bodily autonomy.
December 2001–Manson Sued for Sexual Assault and Battery (Again)
Months after Manson was charged for sexual assault towards a security guard, he is sued again for the same reason by a different security guard in Minneapolis. This time, Manson is found not liable for the assault.
April 2002–Manson is Sued for Wrongful Death
Following the tragic death of Jennifer Syme, Manson is sued for wrongful death by the actress’s mother, who claims that Manson gave Syme drugs and encouraged her to drive inebriated. Manson claimed that this lawsuit was “completely unfounded” and worked to counter-sue his deceased friend’s mother. Eventually, the matter was settled outside of the court system.
2003–Manson and Then Wife Dita Von Teese are Interviewed on The New Tom Green Show
In a lesser circulated clip of The New Tom Green Show, Manson and his new wife Dite Von Teese are interviewed together. Several red-flags are shown during the clip. When Green asks how the couple met, Manson says in a low, raspy voice, “I kinda stalked her…”
The interview continues, and eventually, Tom Green says, “You asked me before the show if I wanted to see your girlfriend’s breasts”. Manson tries to backtrack and say “No I didn’t,” but Von Teese jumps in and says “He does that to everybody […] when he wants to thank someone he’ll say ‘here [Dita] show them your breasts.” Green asks her if she likes that, and timidly Von Deese says “Well, you know, it’s been three years of that…”.
May 2007–Heart-Shaped Glasses Music Video and Involvement with Evan Rachel Wood
In May 2007, a 38-year-old Manson made a very sexually suggestive music video for his song Heart-Shaped Glasses (When the Heart Guides the Hand), starring himself and his 20-year-old girlfriend-at-the-time Evan Rachel Wood. During his divorce from dancer Dita Von Deese, this took place and publicly acknowledges his relationship with Wood. Although Evan Rachel Wood is off age in this video, she’s still significantly younger than Manson, and later on, in the Instagram post Wood made last week, she claims that Manson had begun grooming her as a teenager.
June 2009–Interview with SPIN
After his breakup with Evan Rachel Wood, Manson is interviewed by SPIN, the same company that he had threatened to kill the editor of back in 1998. Over a decade later, Manson sits down with SPIN’s Will Goodman, and they chat about his newest album. In this interview, Manson candidly and comfortably speaks with Goodman about his behavior after his break-up with ex-fiancé Evan Rachel Wood.
Manson talks about harassing Wood after the break-up and calling her obsessively, “I called 158 times.” He admits to cutting himself to invoke an emotional response from Wood. “I took a razorblade, and I cut myself on my face or on my hands.[…] It was like, ‘I want you to physically see what you’ve done.'”, and constantly fantasizing about depraved ways in which he could end Wood’s life. “I have fantasies every day about smashing her skull in with a sledgehammer.”
July 2009–Manson Threatens Journalists
After receiving scrutiny towards his image and his reputation, Manson writes in a since deleted blog post “I am far different than the soon-to-be-murdered-in-their-home press has decided to fabricate, If one more ‘journalist’ makes a cavalier statement about me and my band, I will personally or with my fans’ help, greet them at their home and discover just how much they believe in their freedom of speech.”
2011–Manson Allegedly Holds a Gun to a Stylist’s Head
According to stylist Love Bailey—a trans woman—in 2011, she was called to Manson’s home to do styling for a music video. Bailey was called into Manson’s room where he had just finished having sex with an unnamed actress who was clearly impaired. Allegedly, Manson took a gun out and held it to her head. Manson reportedly said “I don’t like f**gots” and cackled as he held the weapon. Fortunately, he didn’t physically harm Bailey, but obviously left her with trauma for many years.
November 2016–Evan Rachel Wood Talks About her Unnamed Abuser for the First Time Publically
In a Rolling Stone interview, Wood talks about being raped and abused by a former partner. “I’ve been raped. By a significant other while we were together.” she says as she explains her own trauma and how it relates to playing serious roles. She left the perpetrator of the abuse unnamed then, but has since come out to tell the world that it was Manson.
October 2017–Manson’s Long-Time Friend and Bassist Twiggy Ramirez is Accused of Rape
2017 was a big year for the #MeToo movement, many powerful men were accused of sexual misconduct during this time. Marilyn Manson’s bassist and friend Twiggy Ramirez was one of the accused. Ramirez’s ex girlfriend and lead singer of Riot Grrl band Jack Off Jill Jessicka Adams alleged that he had pushed her onto the ground and raped her before her friend came in and pulled him off of her.
Manson claimed that he had not known about these allegations, and later that same month he dropped Twiggy Ramirez from his band.
February 2018–Actress Charlyne Yi Accuses Manson of Sexual and Racial Harassment
In a since deleted tweet, actress Charlyne Yi talks about her experience with Manson when he—who was apparently a huge fan of the show House MD—came to the set to watch them film the final season and to meet the cast. According to Yi, Manson was extremely inappropriate on set, sexually harassing the women by asking them to “scissor”, and even calling Yi a “Chinaman”.
February 2018–Evan Rachel Wood Testifies Before Congress
In 2018, Evan Rachel Wood testified before congress in order to help have a bill passed for the rights of sexual assault survivors. Bravely, Wood says “the 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. […] “The worst part, sick rituals of binding me up by my hands and feet to be mentally and physically tortured until my abuser felt I had proven my love for them. At this moment, while I was tied up and being beaten, and being told unspeakable things, I truly felt like I could die, not just because my abuser said to me, ‘I could kill you right now,’ but because at that moment I felt like I left my body, and I was too afraid to run.”
Again, as with the Rolling Stones article, Wood does not name her abuser until 2021—three years later—when she names her abuser as Marilyn Manson.
August 2018–Sexual Abuse Case Against Manson is Dropped
The LA District Attorney refuses to pursue a case of sexual misconduct filed against Manson, detailing that he had held a woman captive for 48 hours in 2011. The DA explained that the statute of limitations had expired, and they had no intention of taking the case to court. Manson’s lawyers claimed that the story was a fabrication made by the victim to sell more Manson memorabilia.
April 2019–Evan Rachel Wood Testifies Again
Once again, Evan Rachel Wood testifies on behalf of the rights of victims of abuse. This time, she testifies before The California Senate Public Safety Committee in support of The Pheonix Act—an act that would lengthen the statute of limitations on domestic violence cases and have police officers undergo further training regards to dealing with victims of abuse. She once again, without naming Manson, tells her story.
December 2020–Evan Rachel Wood Files Police Report Against Marilyn Manson’s Current Wife, Lindsay Usich
A few months ago, a few months before Evan Rachel Wood came out and names her abuser; she filed a police report against Manson’s new wife Lindsay Usich. According to Wood, Manson’s new partner was blackmailing her with an old photo with the potential to ruin her career. Apparently, while drugged and very, very intoxicated, Manson dressed Wood—who was raised Jewish — as Adolf Hitler and took photos. Manson had held onto these photos as blackmail, and now his new wife is using those photos to threaten Wood and her career as a way to force her to be quiet about the abuse she underwent. However, this didn’t work.
February 1st, 2021–Evan Rachel Wood Names her Abuser
This is where everything begins—at least for me—this is where Evan Rachel Wood makes a long and powerful post on her Instagram account, naming Marilyn Manson—and his real name, Brian Warner—as her abuser.
If you haven’t read the post, I’ll also write it out here because it’s very important to read the victim’s story in her own words.
“The name of my abuser is Brian Warner, also known to the world as Marilyn Manson.
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 anymore lives.
I stand with the many victims who will no longer be silent.”
February 1st, 2021–Ashley Walters Comes Forward
Along with Evan Rachel Wood, photographer Ashley Walters comes forward on February 1st, on Instagram; she detailed how Manson also victimized her. She says that in 2010, Manson invited her to his home for a photoshoot where the two became very close friends and even got matching tattoos. Eventually, like every other woman, Manson began to change and to control and torture her. Along with Ashley and Evan, many women came forward on social media against Manson. Huffington Post has done a very comprehensive article on the victims.
February 1st, 2021–Manson Makes a Statement
In response to Evan Rachel Wood’s bravery with her Instagram post, Manson writes his own post on his own Instagram. This post reads “Obviously, my art and my life have long been magnets for controversy, but these recent claims about me are horrible distortions of reality. 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.”
February 1st, 2021–Manson Dropped from Record Label
The same day that Evan Rachel Wood makes her statement, Manson’s record label, CAA drops him as a client. In their statement, they said “In light of today’s disturbing allegations by Evan Rachel Wood and other women naming Marilyn Manson as their abuser, Loma Vista will cease to further promote his current album, effective immediately. Due to these concerning developments, we have also decided not to work with Marilyn Manson on any future projects,”
February 4th, 2021–Phoebe Bridges Comes Forward
Musician Phoebe Bridges comes out with her support for Evan Rachel Wood and other women who are to come forward. Bridges tweets about being in Manson’s home as a teenager and being shown a “rape room”. She also claims that everyone around Manson knew about the abuse and dropping him now was “pathetic”.
February 6th, 2021–Ellie Rowsell Comes Forward
In a series of tweets condemning Manson and showing support for Rachel Evan Wood, musician Ellie Rowsell speaks up about the sexual harassment that she endured backstage at a music festival. Apparently, Rowsell met Manson after playing at the festival. Manson was overly enthusiastic and excited about her band, which made her feel uncomfortable. She eventually realized that as they spoke, Manson had been filming under her skirt with a Go-Pro.
February 10th, 2021–Esme Bianco Comes Forward
In an article with The Cut, a 38-year-old Game of Thrones actress talks about her relationship in 2011 with Manson, and how he eventually came to control and abuse her. Her story aligns with Evan Rachel Wood’s in regard to control, sexual and physical abuse, and emotional torment. “I basically felt like a prisoner,” I came and went at his pleasure. Who I spoke to was completely controlled by him. I called my family hiding in the closet.” Bianco says about Marilyn Manson and the abuse she endured.
This has been a very long article, but even so, I don’t believe I’ve scratched the surface. I hope Manson is prosecuted and used as an example for other powerful men who wish to abuse women. This is what we know so far, but as I’m typing these words, the gears are turning, and things are going to keep coming out. Keep an eye out, care about each other, and hold people accountable.