A judge has said that a rape and abuse lawsuit against Marilyn Manson brought by Game of Thrones actress Esme Bianco can proceed.
Manson, real name Brian Warner, sought to have Bianco’s case thrown out on statute-of-limitations grounds but a judge has ordered him to respond to each of her claims within 14 days.
The suit filed in April alleges that Manson, 52, drugged and raped Bianco, 39, hit her with a whip and used a knife to cut her, on various occasions throughout their relationship between 2009 and 2011.
The rock musician has strenuously denied Bianco’s allegations, saying in a previous court filing that they are the result of a ‘coordinated attack’ by several women to ‘monetize and exploit the MeToo movement.’
Manson, real name Brian Warner, sought to have Bianco’s case thrown out on statute-of-limitations grounds but a judge has ordered him to respond to each of her claims within 14 days. Bianco alleges abuse between 2009 and 2011 when she was in a relationship with the musician
Esme Bianco attends the Season 8 premiere of ‘Game of Thrones’ at Radio City Music Hall on April 3, 2019 in New York City
The judge on Thursday said: ‘A reasonable jury could find that the effects of Warner’s alleged unconscionable acts, including the perceived threat to [Bianco’s] safety, immigration status, and career, persisted years after her last contact with Warner.’
Bianco issued a statement to Deadline after the ruling, saying: ‘My hope is that this ruling empowers other survivors to pursue justice for themselves while signaling to abusers that they cannot bully victims into silence.’
Bianco, who is best known for playing the prostitute Ros on the hit HBO series Game of Thrones, is one of a dozen women, among them Westworld star Evan Rachel Wood, who have publicly accused Manson of physical and sexual abuse this year.
Bianco’s bombshell lawsuit reprises and expands on some of the claims that she first made during an interview with New York magazine in February, including how Manson on one occasion cut her with a knife – described in the complaint as a ‘Nazi’ knife – and then photographed her mutilated naked body. The gruesome images were later shared online without Bianco’s consent, she claimed.
Bianco appearing in Game of Thrones
According to the court filing, Bianco, an English actress and burlesque performer, first met Manson back in 2005 through Dita Von Teese, his then-fiancée, and the musician expressed interest in casting Bianco in a film project, which never got made.
The two stayed in touch through Manson’s two-year marriage to Von Teese, with the singer meeting Bianco while visiting the UK for work.
When Manson and his wife divorced in 2007, Bianco’s lawsuit alleges that he began making ‘his first sexual overtures towards’ the actress by repeatedly asking her for nude photos, but playing off his request ‘as a joke.’
In 2009, Bianco’s complaint alleges that Manson, who is referred to by his legal name, Warner, flew her out to Los Angeles to take part in the filming of a music video for his song ‘I Want to Kill You Like They Do in the Movies.’
‘Ms. Bianco understood this to be a professional project that would be publicly released after being filmed on Flip cameras by Mr. Warner himself,’ the filing reads. ‘Upon arrival, Ms. Bianco found that there was no crew present and that she was expected to stay at Mr. Warner’s home rather than in the hotel that had been previously booked.’
The complaint alleges that throughout the four-day shoot, Bianco was dressed in lingerie, subjected to sleep deprivation, denied food but given drugs and alcohol.
‘Ms. Bianco was threatened and physically beaten by Mr. Warner,’ the complaint alleges. ‘Mr. Warner repeatedly told Ms. Bianco that he would come to her room and rape her during the night.’
Manson allegedly threw tantrums, forced Bianco to watch a movie so violent that she fainted, and tried to force her to perform sex acts on camera with another woman.
‘Perhaps most horrifyingly, Mr. Warner locked Ms. Bianco in the bedroom, tied her to a prayer kneeler, and beat her with a whip that Mr. Warner said was utilized by the Nazis,’ the lawsuit states. ‘He also electrocuted her.’
According to the lawsuit, Bianco did not raise objections to Manson’s antics, or tried to leave for fear that ‘she would be seen as unprofessional and barred from future professional opportunities.’
Bianco first met Manson in 2005, and the two later started a sexual relationship after his divorce from Dita Von Teese. Bianco claims that the singer lured her to the US with promises of work, which never materialized
In the end, Bianco never saw any of the footage from that shoot, which Manson assured her was being edited.
She returned to London, where Manson visited her in May of that year. The two started a consensual sexual relationship, which was marred, according to the lawsuit, by the singer’s violent and degrading behavior toward her.
For example, Bianco claims that Manson bit and groped her in public without her consent, forced her to sit at his feet during interviews with the press, and once allegedly tried to bring a minor to a hotel room with them.
Over the next two years, Bianco and Manson maintained a long-distance relationship, until 2011, when she said the goth singer convinced her to move to Los Angeles by offering to help her secure a visa and dangling film projects in front of her, which she said never materialized.
The lawsuit claims that during her time living with Manson in Los Angeles, she endured ‘constant abuse.’
‘Mr. Warner controlled Ms. Bianco’s movements and threatened to interfere with her visa process,’ according to the complaint. ‘Mr. Warner alternately kept Ms. Bianco awake for days at a time and then would lock her out of the apartment overnight. She was not permitted to leave the apartment without permission, nor was she permitted to receive visitors.’
The lawsuit alleges that Manson kept his apartment in near-complete darkness and would berate Bianco, including in front of others, if she tried to open the curtains. He also would get angry if she expressed discomfort with the violent and sexually graphic films he played, and would throw violent temper tantrums.
On one occasion, according to the lawsuit, Manson chased Bianco around the apartment with an ax, smashing holes in the walls. Another time, he allegedly cut the actress with a ‘Nazi’ knife without her permission, took pictures of the cuts on her body and then shared them online.
The lawsuit further claims that Manson used drugs, force and threats to coerce sexual acts from Bianco, including while she was unconscious, that he raped her in May 2011, and that he committed sexual battery on her, which included non-consensual ‘spanking, biting, cutting, and whipping Ms. Bianco’s buttocks, breasts, and genitals for Mr. Warner’s sexual gratification.’
Westworld star Evan Rachel Wood (right) in February publicly accused Manson, her ex-boyfriend, of grooming her for sex
She managed to escape from Manson’s apartment while he was asleep in June 2011. When Manson discovered Bianco’s absence, he allegedly threatened to have her visa revoked, giving rise to the human trafficking claims outlined in the complaint.
The lawsuit alleges that Manson ’employed fraud’ when he lured Bianco to the US with empty promises of work, and then inserted 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,’ reads the filing.
Manson also allegedly forced the aspiring actress to perform unpaid labor for him, including preparing and serving food, cleaning his apartment, 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,’ the complaint alleges.
According to the complaint, it took Bianco years to understand the full extent of Manson’s abuse, which was said to her left her suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety depression and panic attacks.
In March 2019, Bianco posted a graphic photograph of her scarred back on Instagram, describing herself as a ‘domestic violence survivor’. Without naming her alleged abuser, she told her followers: ‘The injuries you see are real. The whipping that gave me these wounds was filmed in the name of ‘art’. I used to look at this photo with pride because I thought it was a sign of great devotion to my abuser. Now I look at it with horror.’
At around the same time she teamed up with Evan Rachel Wood, who was with Manson for three years, to create the Phoenix Act – a bill to increase the statute of limitations on domestic violence crimes across all 50 U.S. states and ‘give victims more time to come back from their trauma’.
They have worked with lawmakers and domestic violence survivors and, as part of their campaign, both gave evidence to the California Assembly Public Safety Committee about the abuse they suffered — without naming Manson at the time.
After Bianco and Wood both named Manson as their alleged abuser in February, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department launched an investigation into allegations of domestic abuse, but he has not been charged with any crime.