Ashley Morgan Smithline has filed a sworn statement rescinding her sexual abuse allegations against Marilyn Manson, claiming she was “manipulated” into accusing the rocker of psychological, sexual and physical abuse.
Smithline filed a declaration in Los Angeles Superior Court Thursday saying she was pressured by actress Evan Rachel Wood and others to go public with the accusations she now says are “false.”
“I succumbed to pressure from Evan Rachel Wood and her associates to make accusations of rape and assault against [Manson] that were not true,” she writes in the declaration, which was obtained by PEOPLE. Although PEOPLE corroborated her story with multiple sources for our May 17, 2021 cover story, Smithline says she felt “pressured” by her attorney to speak about her accusations in a press tour.
The model claims she was “repeatedly gaslit” by Wood and others including Ashley Walters, a former assistant of Manson’s who sued him for sexual assault and battery in 2021, Wood’s girlfriend Illma Gore and Game of Thrones actress Esmé Bianco to believe she’d been abused in ways similar to the ways they claimed they had been (Bianco filed a lawsuit against Manson in 2021 that was settled in January. Manson filed a defamation suit against Wood and Gore last year).
A rep for Wood denied that was the case in a statement to PEOPLE.
“Evan never pressured or manipulated Ashley. It was Ashley who first contacted Evan about the abuse she had suffered,” the statement read. “It’s unfortunate that the harassment and threats Ashley received after filing her federal lawsuit appear to have pressured her to change her testimony.”
Smithline says in her new declaration that she had a “brief, consensual sexual relationship” with Manson in 2010, and was contacted 10 years later by either Walters or Gore to take part in a group meeting of women who claimed to have had “relationships or experiences” with the musician, 54.
“I remember [Wood] asked me whether I had been, among other things, whipped, chained, tied up, branded/cut, assaulted while sleeping, beaten, or raped. She said all of these things happened to Ms. Wood and others, and that when Ms. Wood was with [Manson] every moment was a moment of survival,” Smithline wrote. “When I said, no this did not happen to me and this was not my experience, I recall being told by Ms. Wood that just because I could not remember did not necessarily mean that it did not happen.”
Smithline wrote that over conversations with the Westworld actress, she began to question whether Manson actually had abused her, and says Wood and others suggested she “may just be misremembering” and “repressing” her memories of their time together.
“Eventually, I started to believe that what I was repeatedly told happened to Ms. Wood and Ms. Bianco happened to me,” she wrote.
Around January 2021, Smithline says she was encouraged to publicly name Manson as her abuser, and did so in an Instagram post that February. She now says that public statement — as well as an interview she gave to PEOPLE and the civil complaint she filed in June 2021 — “contained untrue statements” about the star, “including that there was violence and non-consensual sexual activity.”
Smithline also says Manson never branded or cut her body as she previously claimed.
The model writes that she “never intended to pursue criminal charges” against Manson, and did not get a look at the contents of her civil complaint before it was filed. She adds that she felt “pressured” by her attorney Jay Ellwanger to go on a press tour, which included a May 2021 PEOPLE cover story.
Ellwanger tells PEOPLE that while his response is “constrained by ethical obligations regarding client confidentiality,” allegations that he pressured Smithline and did not show her the contents of the civil complaint “are categorically and verifiably false.”
Attorneys for Gore and a rep for Smithline did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.
Her lawsuit against Manson (real name Brian Warner) was dismissed without prejudice by a judge in January after she failed to either choose to represent herself or hire a new lawyer following the departure of her attorney Ellwanger.
Manson has repeatedly denied Smithline’s allegations, and said in a July court declaration that their relationship — as well as his relationships with at least three accusers — was “consensual.”
“I never abused, assaulted, raped, threatened, or trafficked any of these women, as they contend,” he said, according to court documents obtained by PEOPLE. “Their accusations against me of abuse, assault, rape, threats and the like are unequivocally false.”
Smithline was the fourth woman to file suit against the star, and at least 15 other women have accused him of sexual assault. He has denied all allegations, which he has called “horrible distortions of reality.”
Ashley is just one of many, many, accusers. He’s still a(n alleged) predator.