Game of Thrones actress Esme Bianco has officially filed a lawsuit against shock rocker Marilyn Manson for sexual assault and human trafficking.
Rolling Stone reported that the suit was filed Friday (30th) in the United States District Court for the Central District of California and names Manson (whose real name is Brian Warner), as well as his former manager Tony Ciulla and Ciulla’s management company. It alleges that Warner “used drugs, force, and threats of force to coerce sexual acts from Ms. Bianco on multiple occasions,” that he “raped Ms. Bianco in or around May 2011,” and the he “committed sexual acts” to her when she was “unconscious or unable to consent” that included “spanking, biting, cutting, and whipping Ms. Bianco’s buttocks, breasts, and genitals for Mr. Warner’s sexual gratification — all without the consent of Plaintiff.” She also claims that he gave her drugs and deprived her of sleep “in order to weaken her physically and mentally and decrease her ability to refuse him.”
The lawsuit also claims that Warner and Ciulla violated human trafficking laws in bringing her to the US to shoot the “I Want to Kill You Like They Do in the Movies” music video in 2009, as well as shoot a film he was supposedly working on based on Lewis Carroll’s works called ‘Phantasmagoria’ that never came to be. “He promised work opportunities that never appeared while inserting himself in her visa process.” “By inserting himself in Ms. Bianco’s visa process, Mr. Warner was able to control Ms. Bianco by threatening to withdraw support if she displeased him.” There were also accusations of “unpaid labor,” including “serving and preparing food for Mr. Warner and his guests, cleaning his apartment, consulting on his album, providing uncredited backup vocals during the creative process for the album Born Villain, and being offered up to his guests and bandmates to ‘spank.’ Mr. Warner implied that because he had brought Ms. Bianco to the United States and provided housing, she owed him labor and sexual intimacy.”
Furthermore, Bianco claims in the lawsuit that Ciulla and his management company knew about the abuses and did nothing because they “benefited financially” from letting it happen. Says the suit, “Mr. Warner’s former assistants discussed Mr. Warner’s abuse directly with Mr. Ciulla. Mr. Warner’s management had a vested interest in supporting his violent tendencies to encourage the creation of his ‘art’ and the promotion of the brand of Marilyn Manson, and were complicit in Mr. Warner’s abuse of Ms. Bianco.”
Said Bianco’s lawyer Jay Ellwanger to Rolling Stone, “I am inspired by Ms. Bianco’s courage and dedication to holding Brian Warner accountable. While we understand that the criminal investigations are still ongoing, it is vital that we pursue every possible avenue to hold him accountable for the horrific acts he committed.”
Warner’s lawyer Howard King fired back about the lawsuit, telling Rolling Stone, “These claims are provably false. To be clear, this suit was only filed after my client refused to be shaken down by Ms. Bianco and her lawyer and give in to their outrageous financial demands based on conduct that simply never occurred. We will vigorously contest these allegations in court and are confident that we will prevail.”
Ciulla’s lawyer Edwin McPherson also responded to the allegations, telling Rolling Stone, “This attempt to involve Ciulla Management in this action is not only legally meritless but also offensive and absurd. We look forward to formally contesting these completely frivolous allegations.”
Back in February, actress Evan Rachel Wood, who dated Warner between 2007 and 2010, named the singer as the abuser she had mentioned in her 2016 Rolling Stone interview. Wood revealed in an Instagram post that Warner “started grooming me when I was a teenager and horrifically abused me for years” and that she “was brainwashed and manipulated into submission.” She continued, “I am done living in fear of retaliation, slander, or blackmail. I am here to expose this dangerous man and call out the many industries that have enabled him before he ruins any more lives. I stand with the many victims who will no longer be silent.” In 2016, she had gone into more detail, saying that he had raped her and physically and sexually assaulted her. Following her post, a laundry list of other women (including Bianco) broke their silence about the abuses they endured while dating or working for Warner, telling stories that sounded eerily similar to those told by Wood.
Much of Bianco’s story was published in a February 10 article in New York Magazine.
Prior to naming Warner as their abuser, both Wood and Bianco worked on and testified in the creation of the Phoenix Act, a law that would increase the “statute of limitations on domestic violence from three years to five.” The law was passed by California governor Gavin Newsom in 2019 and went into effect in January 2020.
Some of Warner’s former collaborators, including Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor, Limp Bizkit’s Wes Borland and Otep’s Otep Shamaya, have also come out against the singer, attesting to his abusive character traits.
Following the claims, Warner took to Instagram to deny the allegations, writing, “Obviously, my art and my life have long been magnets for controversy, but these recent claims about me are horrible distortions of reality. My intimate relationships have always been entirely consensual with like-minded partners. Regardless of how – and why – others are now choosing to misrepresent the past, that is the truth.”
In the wake of February’s allegations, Ciulla cut ties with Warner after 25 years as his manager. Warner was also dropped by his record label, Loma Vista, and had upcoming television appearances on the shows ‘American Gods’ and ‘Creepshow’ cut.
This is the first lawsuit to arise since Bianco, Wood and the other women came forward with their stories. It also follows rumors that the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department was meeting with one of Warner’s victims about “incidents of domestic violence” that “occurred between 2009 and 2011 when Mr. Warner lived in the city of West Hollywood.”
Bianco is seeking unspecified damages for the years of abuse. The entire lawsuit can be read here.