After filing a lawsuit against musician Marilyn Manson, Ashley Morgan Smithline opened up about her claims of sexual, physical and psychological abuse in an exclusive interview on “The View” on Wednesday.
The model who says she spent two years in a relationship with the metal rockstar, whose legal name is Brian Warner, spoke out about the abuse she alleged she endured for years in May, but officially filed a lawsuit with the United States District Court in the Central District of California against Manson and Marilyn Manson Records, demanding trial by jury.
Smithline is seeking damages for sexual assault, sexual battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, unlawful imprisonment, violations of the Bane Act and/or violations of the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act, according to the suit.
Smithline’s attorney Jay Ellwanger sat alongside her throughout her appearance on “The View” and responded to critics who have said Smithline is suing Manson for money rather than justice.
“When it comes to the civil justice system, that is where a survivor like Ashley can take control of the narrative,” he said. “Ashley is able to seek justice on her own terms and that is extremely important for every survivor out there to know; that through the civil justice system, regardless of what the criminal justice system does or does not do, through the civil justice system, she can try to get her life back.”
On what she hopes results from the lawsuit, Smithline said of Manson, “I want him to be held accountable. I want him to take responsibility for his actions.”
“We’ve done everything that we can,” she added. “I’m not a judge. I’m not a jury, but I really hope that he is held accountable for his actions.”
According to the complaint, Smithline and Manson first connected in or around the summer of 2010 through various forms of social media while she was modeling in Bangkok.
“I was kind of bombarded by Facebook messages, by emails, by Skype calls that I don’t know if he remembered he did all of these different things,” Smithline said on “The View.”
The complaint says Manson then asked her to be an actress in an upcoming film project later that summer. It was during this time, the complaint says, that Manson began to develop an “obsession” with Smithline.
By around Nov. 10, 2010, Manson had flown Smithline from Thailand to California to meet in person and begin working on the film project, according to the complaint. Around mid-November, Smithline says she moved in with Manson, whose apartment was supposed to serve as a “studio” for the apparent film project. The complaint says that several days after moving in, they began a consensual sexual relationship.
“It quickly became apparent that consensual sex was not enough for Mr. Warner,” the complaint says. “In or around mid-November 2010, Ms. Smithline awoke from unconsciousness with her ankles and wrists tied together behind her back and Mr. Warner sexually penetrating her. Ms. Smithline says she told Mr. Warner to stop and said no multiple times, and Mr. Warner told her to … ‘be quiet.'”
Smithline told “The View” that this alleged incident was the first form of abuse from Manson that she experienced, and that “the abuse just worsened” from that point on.
“I was dehumanized, I was degraded, I was treated like an animal,” she said.
From November 2010 through January 2013, Smithline’s complaint alleges she endured sexual, physical and psychological abuse from Manson, including being whipped, burned, cut and branded by Manson.
Manson allegedly kept his apartment in near-total darkness and temperatures so cold that she described the environment in her complaint as a “black refrigerator.” Due to the lack of light in the apartment, Manson would allegedly lie about the time of day in an effort to force Smithline to work at all hours. He allegedly kept her awake by giving her cocaine or blaring loud music, and did not provide her with enough food to eat, according to the complaint.
During that time, Smithline says her weight dropped to approximately 80 pounds.
“Very early on, [Manson] made it clear that my life was definitely in danger and that he could kill me at any time,” Smithline told “The View” co-host Sunny Hostin. “I was afraid all the time that he would end my life.”
When co-host Joy Behar asked Smithline why she continued to return to Manson’s home after modeling in Asia through the years, she said it was because she “was extremely manipulated” and felt “coerced” into “being with him in the first place.”
“As unsafe as it was, I just felt that I couldn’t escape it,” she said.
A spokesperson for Manson sent “The View” the following statement: “We strongly deny Ms. Smithline’s claims. There are so many falsehoods within her claims that we wouldn’t know where to begin to answer them. This relationship, to the limited extent it was a relationship, lasted less than a week in 2010. Manson hasn’t seen Miss Smithline since then.”
In response, Smithline said Manson’s statement is “further proof that he’s denying any accountability at all, that he completely takes no responsibility for anything he’s done.”
Ellwanger added to her response, telling “The View” that “it’s one thing to issue a statement to the media, and it’s another thing to respond to a lawsuit, and we’ll look forward to seeing what the evidence shows in this case and the evidence will back up the claims made in the complaint.”
Smithline is the fourth woman to file a lawsuit against Manson, 52, for alleged sexual assault. Actress Esmé Bianco, former personal assistant Ashley Walters and a woman who has remained anonymous — only known as “Jane Doe” — have all filed lawsuits against the singer.
Smithline is also one of the 17 women who have reportedly made claims of sexual assault against Manson, including actress Evan Rachel Wood, who was engaged to Manson in 2010.
Wood spoke out on Instagram on Feb. 1, 2021, about how Manson allegedly started “grooming” her when she was a teenager, claiming that he “horrifically abused” her for years.
“I was brainwashed and manipulated into submission,” she wrote. “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.”
Manson has denied all allegations made against him, and he denied Woods’ claims on Feb. 1.
“Obviously, my art and my life have long been magnets for controversy, but these recent claims about me are horrible distortions of reality,” he wrote in his Instagram post. “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.”
Smithline says “it’s been extremely helpful” to have a support group of women who understand the abuse she claims to have endured from Manson.
“We have spoken. We’ve supported each other, and everyone’s support has been unbelievable,” she said.
“I continue to hope that more and more people speak out against people, whether they’re Brian Warner or if they’re, you know, anyone,” Smithline told co-host Whoopi Goldberg. “This is never OK.”
After receiving claims from multiple women, the LA County Sheriff’s Department confirmed to ABC News on Feb. 19 that it was investigating the abuse allegations against Manson.
“The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Special Victims Bureau, is investigating allegation(s) of domestic violence involving Mr. Brian Warner, also known as ‘Marilyn Manson,’ who works in the music industry,” it said in a statement to ABC News. “The incidents occurred between 2009 and 2011, when Mr. Warner lived in the city of West Hollywood.”
Separately, on June 25, The Los Angeles Times reported that Manson will make an appearance in person or through his lawyer at the Los Angeles Police Department over an misdemeanor arrest warrant stemming from the claim that in 2019 he assaulted a videographer in New Hampshire by spitting at her twice.
If you or someone you know needs help, please call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673 and see resources from RAINN.
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