Content Warning: This article about Ellie Rowsell and Marilyn Manson discusses sexual abuse and domestic violence. If you or someone you know is affected by the following story, you are not alone. To speak to someone, you can call Lifeline on 13 11 14, or 1800 RESPECT on 1800 737 732.
On February 1st, Thirteen actress Evan Rachel Wood took to Instagram to pen a statement alleging that she was “horrifically abused” by shock rocker Marilyn Manson for years.
“The name of my abuser is Brian Warner, also known to the world as Marilyn Manson,” Wood wrote. “He started grooming me when I was a teenager and horrifically abused me for years. I was brainwashed and manipulated into submission.”
The statement prompted four other women to come forward, detailing their own alleged abuse experienced at the hands of Manson. Incidents that spanned from rape, sexual assault and psychological abuse.
It also prompted a number of Manson’s musical contemporaries to come forward with stories of Manson’s misconduct. Phoebe Bridgers claimed that Manson boasted about having a “rape room” in his house, while Trent Reznor and Limp Bizkit’s Wes Borland both called out his character.
Wolf Alice vocalist Ellie Rowsell also detailed an incident of misconduct she experienced at the hands of Marilyn Manson at a music festival a few years back.
In a lengthy Twitter thread, Rowsell detailed that she became “suspicious” of Manson’s behaviour after “his compliments towards [Wolf Alice] became more and more hyperbolic” and was “shocked to look down and see he was filming up [her] skirt with a GoPro.”
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Rowsell then claims that “there were no repercussions for his behaviour, his tour manager simply said ‘he does this kind of thing all the time’.”
“If he does this kind of thing all the time why on earth has he been headlining festivals for so many years?” Rowsell continued. “When will we stop enabling misogynists on the account of their success? Women must feel safe in the male dominated world that is the music industry.”
She concluded “I wasn’t sure whether to bring any of this up but Manson claims in his recent statement that his relationships were ‘entirely consensual’ – I don’t think he knows the meaning of consent if he goes around up-skirting young women at festivals. Thank you for your courage Evan.”
During a recent interview with The Times, Rowsell admitted that she has faced “a lot of trolls” accusing her of fabricating the incident “for attention” and implying that “it was my fault because I put myself in those situations”.
“So there are a lot of weirdos on my case, but the reason I said anything was because other people weren’t being believed and I felt there is power in collective stories,” Rowsell explained. “People were rationalising his behaviour, saying [the women] were in a relationship with him – they chose that. And I’m well aware my story is not half as horrendous as others’, but I literally went to work …”
“I don’t think [Manson] knows the meaning of consent if he goes around upskirting young women.”
Rowsell went on to acknowledge that “people were angry” at her for “bringing this situation to Twitter instead of sorting it out there and then.”
She continued, “I agree it shouldn’t have to come to calling out someone’s behaviour online years later. Manson wasn’t reprimanded when I told his team and the festival organisers. It was shrugged off as something he did all the time.
“He didn’t offer an apology or let me confiscate the camera, and it couldn’t be brought to the police because it wasn’t a criminal offence at the time.”
“Some would rather vilify a woman for taking her story public than listen to what she is saying,” Rowsell continued. “You don’t want people to resent women for asking for change because there is a fear of [being] cancelled.
“So while calling stuff out might change behaviour in the future, you want people to learn what is wrong and not just because they fear cancellation. That’s why we need re-education and to diversify industries.”