In the new documentary Phoenix Rising, which premiered on January 23 at Sundance Film Festival, actor Evan Rachel Wood alleges that Brian “Marilyn Manson” Warner “essentially raped” her during the filming of a music video for the disgraced musician.
“It’s nothing like I thought it was going to be,” Wood reportedly says in the film, referring to the video shoot. “We’re doing things that were not what was pitched to me.”
“We had discussed a simulated sex scene, but once the cameras were rolling, he started penetrating me for real. I had never agreed to that,” Wood continues. “I’m a professional actress, I have been doing this my whole life, I’d never been on a set that unprofessional in my life up until this day. It was complete chaos, and I did not feel safe. No one was looking after me.”
“It was a really traumatizing experience filming the video. I didn’t know how to advocate for myself or know how to say no because I had been conditioned and trained to never talk back—to just soldier through. I felt disgusting and like I had done something shameful, and I could tell that the crew was very uncomfortable and nobody knew what to do. I was coerced into a commercial sex act under false pretenses. That’s when the first crime was committed against me and I was essentially raped on camera,” Wood concludes.
Wood and Manson began dating in 2006 when Wood was 18 and Warner was 37. The music video they filmed was for “Heart-Shaped Glasses (When The Heart Guides the Hand),” a song from Manson’s 2007 studio album Eat Me, Drink Me. After the filming of the video, Wood says Warner allegedly told her to tell everyone the sex was simulated and it was “great, romantic time.”
“I was scared to do anything that would upset Brian in any way,” Wood says in the Amy Berg-directed documentary. “The video was just the beginning of the violence that would keep escalating over the course of the relationship.”
The documentary does include a statement from Warner’s lawyers, saying he “vehemently denies any and all claims of sexual assault or abuse of anyone.”
“These lurid claims against my client have three things in common—they are all false, alleged to have taken place more than a decade ago and part of a coordinated attack by former partners and associates of Mr. Warner who have weaponized the otherwise mundane details of his personal life and their consensual relationships into fabricated horror stories.” the statement continues.
The investigation into the accusations against Warner by the Los Angeles Police Department is still ongoing. In November, his home was raided for “media storage devices.”
The rest of the documentary follows Wood’s work on behalf of victims of sexual assault and her role in the creation of the Phoenix Act, which extends the statute of limitations for domestic violence survivors.
Phoenix Rising is set to arrive on HBO Max later this year.