Actor Evan Rachel Wood named Brian Warner, known as musician Marilyn Manson, as the man whose abuse she has long talked about having endured, last month.
“I am here to expose this dangerous man and call out the many industries that have enabled him, before he ruins anymore lives,” Wood said.
Before confirming Warner’s identity, Wood openly discussed being a survivor of domestic abuse.
She testified in front of congress to pass the Sexual Assault Survivors’ Bill of Rights in Feb. 2018, where she talked about being sexually abused by an unnamed partner, now known to be Warner.
Wood also testified to get the Phoenix Act passed in 2019. She recounted in detail the sexual violence, life threats, and manipulation Warner inflicted on her during their relationship, starting from Warner grooming her when she was just 18.
The details that Wood shares during her testimony are nausea inducing. They speak to Warner being deeply depraved.
Her trauma is palpable in the video, and I don’t understand how someone can watch Wood vocalize her trauma and think the pained words coming out of her mouth are lies.
On social media, Warner’s longtime fans have varying reactions to Wood’s allegations.
Many fans express shame over supporting Warner in the past and are ready to believe Wood.
This sort of makes me hopeful that society is willing to think more critically about their idols, given Hollywood’s long history of sexual abuse.
But others insist that, because two of Warner’s previous partners said he was not abusive to them (Dita Von Teese and Rose McGowan), Wood’s allegations are weak.
Similarly, musician Alice Cooper told NME Magazine on March 1 that he “never noticed that streak in him [Warner], if it’s there.”
But someone can be kind to one person and still mistreat another. An abuser can decide to be nice today and maybe commit a good deed. That doesn’t change their abusive nature. They are still terrible people.
While Cooper doesn’t exactly reject the allegations, his statement remains dangerous. Warner’s respect towards Cooper doesn’t make his victims’ allegations less true. The idea that it does lessen the validity of allegations just hurts victims and their chances of being believed.
Why do Warner fans who reiterate Dita Von Teese and Rose McGowan’s experiences disregard accounts like those of Ashley Walters, Sarah McNeilly and Ashley Lindsay Morgan, additional women who claimed Warner abused them? And what about the anonymous accounts that also detail his horrific abuse?
Other fans are reluctant to believe Wood because Warner’s music personally influenced their lives, claiming his music helped them cope with mental health.
I am no stranger to mental illness. But it is still imperative that people rethink who they idolize, even if they have tattoos of an idol’s lyrics.
Warner himself blatantly admitted to being abusive to Wood in the past. For Spin in 2009, Warner shared his disturbing fantasy of “smashing her skull in with a sledgehammer.”
He also described obsessively calling Wood post-breakup, inflicting self-harm in the process to guilt her for not answering. These comments were often brushed off as the standard of rock star personas.
But the fact this behavior was normalized enough in the industry to be excused for that reason is a problem.
I’ve even read comments from fans saying that violence is just part of who Warner is — that Wood should have expected it because Warner is just like that.
These ugly comments imply that misogyny is just part of what it means to be a musician. That talking about how much you want to hurt women (which reminds me of Eminem too!) is just… part of your brand?
Also, the idea that Wood doesn’t deserve sympathy because she should have expected to be abused is heinous. Why should abusive behavior be something to anticipate, to put up with, to even deserve?
I also want to note that teenagers are not magically adults when they turn 18 years old. They were minors just a day earlier, and still very vulnerable to manipulation. Warner was well aware of the power imbalance in their relationship.
Victims should not be expected to see the future or bear the responsibility of avoiding abuse. Red flags are often easier said than done to detect, especially when you’re a teenager.
Warner’s label has since dropped him, and an investigation into the allegations against Warner is underway.
I hope Warner’s expired career continues to decline, and that more people rethink who they uphold as icons. Idolizing people like Warner is at the expense of abuse victims
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