Marilyn Manson’s former assistant, Ashley Walters, has filed a lawsuit against the singer, whose real name is Brian Warner, alleging a number of crimes including sexual assault, sexual battery, sexual harassment, and intentional infliction of emotional distress, among other claims. Warner is one defendant in the suit along with a company he runs, Marilyn Manson Records, Inc.
Walters is one of more than a dozen women to come forward with allegations of sexual impropriety against Warner and the second woman to submit a legal claim against him, following Game of Thrones actress Esmé Bianco’s suit last month.
Walters was an aspiring photographer when she met Warner, who proposed that they could collaborate artistically. The filing claims Warner approached Walters on social media in March 2010 to compliment her photography, and two months later he invited her to his home where he took photos of her and encouraged her to undress. Warner then pinned her to a bed where he tried to kiss her and then bit her and forced her hand into his underwear, according to the suit. He texted her the next day and again brought up the idea of collaboration; she decided to ignore the alleged assault.
After that, Warner acted professionally, and she even agreed to pose semi-nude for him. He did not make advances toward her at that time. But shortly after that, she claims he made her feel uncomfortable, allegedly asking her to serve as his director of photography if she passed an audition: appearing in a video wearing only her underwear and a Nazi jacket.
He reportedly told her, he “loved when girls looked like they had just been raped” and allegedly went about painting her nipples red telling her it was “purely professional.” While she was acting, she says the actor in the scene with her unzipped his pants and touched his penis under a comforter on the bed she was on; she claims Manson told her to help him out. When she tried to leave, the actor threw her against a wall; Warner allegedly said he liked that the actor was attracted to her. Walters said she found out later that Warner was reportedly telling the actor that he believed he could sleep with her.
Warner hired her in August 2010 as his personal assistant, according to the suit, and said he could pay her twice what she was making at her production job. The singer had an explosive temper, the suit claims, and would destroy his furniture, electronics, and other fixtures, forcing her to clean them up; he would berate her if he felt she was taking too long. He would allegedly refuse her holidays off to see her family or friends.
Meanwhile, she says, he would force her upon his friends. “In or around September 2010 at the Spike TV Scream Awards in Los Angeles, an intoxicated [Warner] pushed Walters onto the lap of an actor and bragged that he could ‘have her,’” the lawsuit contends. “The actor proceeded to kiss Walters and keep her on his lap. Defendant commonly offered Walters up to his influential industry friends and associates.” In another alleged episode the next month, Warner pushed her on a film director who groped her repeatedly and shoved his hand up her skirt while covering her mouth. She also describes another incident in March 2011 when Warner reportedly encouraged her to submit to a wealthy musician who groped her in front of Warner. She says the musician later asked Warner if he could “buy” Walters from him.
While in his employ, Walters says Warner repeatedly showed her video of him abusing a “young female fan,” stripping her clothes off and whipping her until she screamed and cried. She says he pulled a gun on her in the video. Walters contends that the fan was a minor at the time the video was taken.
Walters once hid from Warner in a closet and he reportedly broke down the door. He allegedly menaced her by claiming gang affiliations and claiming he could have people killed. The suit claims Warner would force his employees to appear in videos wearing Nazi paraphernalia and say damaging or offensive things as potential blackmail. She says he would also search people’s personal computers for anything he could use for extortion. He allegedly threw dishes at Walters and pushed her in violent fits of rage. He even allegedly bragged to her that he got away with raping women, according to the suit.
Walters says she remembers bringing food and drinks to Warner’s girlfriends, including Bianco and actress Evan Rachel Wood, who hid from the singer in his guest bathroom. She also watched Warner allegedly abuse them, including one time she claims Warner threw a prop skull at Wood so hard it left a welt on her stomach. On work trips, Walters says Warner carried out “constant degradation of his female fans.” She remembers one young fan in Vienna whom Warner allegedly claimed to have had sex with and taken her virginity.
On multiple trips, she says Warner hid drugs, including cocaine, in her luggage. According to the suit, she said she couldn’t object because it could alert airport security. Warner allegedly ended Walters’ employment in July 2011 after he learned that she had spent time with his then-girlfriend, Bianco.
On several occasions, Warner allegedly forced Walters to work for 48 hours straight. The suit claims that one time he made her stand on a chair without moving for 12 hours while he took photos, plying her with cocaine the whole time. He allegedly physically and verbally threatened her in August, claiming he felt she was trying to sabotage his career. He reportedly asked her to cut wires on his roof because he thought his neighbors were tapping his phone.
She says he fired her for a final time in October 2011 and continued to harass her, claiming she stole artwork from his home. She claims he hacked her Facebook account.
Walters’ lawsuit details six legal claims, including sexual harassment, sexual assault, sexual battery, and infliction of emotional distress. She also says he violated California civil codes about sex discrimination by allegedly sexually harassing he and that he interfered with the exercise of civil rights in violation of the Bane Act, another California civil code that protects people’s rights from threats and intimidation.
“It is a privilege and an honor to represent Ashley who made the difficult-but-brave decision to come forward about this horrific experience,” her attorneys, Valli, Kane & Vagnini, said in a statement. “Through this lawsuit, she seeks accountability from her abuser to not only ensure it does not continue to happen to other women, but also to provide strength and courage to other survivors who have suffered trauma at the hands of those who regularly abuse their power and influence. In recent years, thanks to people like Ashley and other survivors of Marilyn Manson, legislators and courts have begun recognizing the strength and time it takes survivors to come forward. We are grateful to Ashley and other survivors who are fighting to be heard after the abuse they endured.” (A member of Manson’s team vehemently denied any accusations of assault.)
Walters is seeking back pay and lost wages and an unspecified amount of damages. She is also asking that Warner gets rid of images he has of her, as well as any explicit images of women obtained without their written consent. She also wants Warner and his employees at Marilyn Manson Recordings Inc. to submit to anti-sexual harassment and anti-sexual violence training.
Earlier this year, Wood accused Warner of abuse. She had previously partnered with Bianco in lobbying for the creation of the Phoenix Act, which expands the rights of domestic abuse survivors. Bianco filed her suit against Warner in April. After the women started speaking out, many of Warner’s connections to the entertainment industry cut their ties with him. His label, Loma Vista, dropped him; his manager, Tony Ciulla, cut his ties; and his booking agent, CAA, said they would no longer represent him. The TV shows Creepshow and American Gods also canceled his planned appearances on the shows.
In February, Warner released a statement saying that the women’s accusations were “horrible distortions of reality.” “My intimate relationships have always been entirely consensual with like-minded partners,” he wrote. “Regardless of how — and why — others are now choosing to misrepresent the past, that is the truth.”
In an interview with New York magazine related to Bianco’s claims, Walters said she lived in fear of Warner. “Everybody was dehumanized,” says Walters. “Everyone was constantly walking on eggshells.”