Marilyn Manson and his former manager Tony Ciulla have been sued by “Game of Thrones” actress Esmé Bianco for sexual assault and sexual trafficking, accusing Manson of rape and sexual battery.
The lawsuit, which was filed Friday in United States District Court for the Central District of California and obtained by TheWrap, also names Ciulla and his management company Ciulla Management, accusing them of violating human trafficking laws by bringing her from London to the U.S. by enticing her for a Manson music video and a film role that never materialized. Ciulla in February dropped Manson as a client after working with him for 25 years.
Bianco accused Manson, whose real name is Brian Warner, of abuse in an article with New York Magazine back in February, but the lawsuit includes greater detail of those accusations, and this is the first legal action taken against Warner since he was accused by numerous women, including “Westworld” star Evan Rachel Wood, back in February.
The lawsuit says that Warner raped Bianco in or around May 2011, also giving her drugs and depriving her of sleep and food in order to weaken her physically, as well as performing sexual acts on her when she was unconscious or unable to consent. It also says Warner committed sexual battery in Los Angeles in 2011 on multiple occasions, including “spanking, biting, cutting, and whipping Ms. Bianco’s buttocks, breasts, and genitals for Mr. Warner’s sexual gratification,” all without her consent.
Warner back in February denied all the accusations, but he has not spoken out since. “Obviously, my art and my life have long been magnets for controversy, but these recent claims about me are horrible distortions of reality,” he previously wrote. “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.”
Reps for Ciullla and Ciulla Management did not respond to a request for comment.
Bianco first met Warner in 2005 and was asked to come to America in 2009 for a music video shoot but found that there was no crew when she arrived and was expected to stay with Warner rather than in a booked hotel. According to the lawsuit, she was also expected to stay on call 24/7 while wearing lingerie as a costume, and over the course of four days she was not offered food but instead was given drugs and alcohol.
“In addition to these deprivations, Ms. Bianco was threatened and physically beaten by Mr. Warner. Mr. Warner repeatedly told Ms. Bianco that he would come to her room and rape her during the night,” the suit continues. “He threw tantrums where he would destroy camera equipment and throw objects around the room. He forced Ms. Bianco to watch an extremely violent movie that caused her to faint. He attempted to force her to perform sexual acts on camera with another woman who was present throughout the shoot. 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. He also electrocuted her.”
It adds that Bianco and Warner were in a consensual sexual relationship in 2009 but that he bruised and publicly groped her without her consent and would further enforce a “dress code” during trips and press visits.
The lawsuit also claims that Bianco feared retribution, either being labeled as unprofessional or receiving additional physical abuse. It details incidents in which Warner chased Bianco around his apartment with an ax, smashing holes in the walls, or that he cut Bianco with a knife during sex and posted photos of her body online without her consent. Bianco also claims band mates and colleagues, including Ciulla, witnessed some of this abuse and that Ciulla threatened to have her visa revoked if she left.
Bianco claims through the suit that Ciulla and the management company were in violation of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, saying that they benefited financially by allowing the abuse to continue, witnessed abuse directly and acted as her “babysitter” when Warner wasn’t around. The lawsuit claims that Bianco was asked to sign a document agreeing to appear in a film that never materialized and recorded backup vocals for one of Manson’s albums, for which she was unpaid.
Bianco issued a statement to TheWrap in response to the lawsuit, describing her work with the Phoenix Act that aims to expand rights for sexual assault survivors:
“As millions of survivors like myself are painfully aware, our legal system is far from perfect. This is why I co-created the Phoenix Act, a law which gives precious additional healing time to thousands of domestic violence survivors. But while I fight for a more just legal system, I am also pursuing my right to demand my abuser be held to account, using every avenue available to me. For far too long my abuser has been left unchecked, enabled by money, fame and an industry that turned a blind eye. Despite the numerous brave women who have spoken out against Marilyn Manson, countless survivors remain silenced, and some of their voices will never be heard. My hope is that by raising mine I will help to stop Brian Warner from shattering any more lives and empower other victims to seek their own small measure of justice.”
“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,” Bianco’s attorney Jay Ellwanger said in a statement.
Manson after the accusations became public back in February was dropped by his agents at CAA, by his longtime manager Ciulla and by his label Loma Vista, and he was also dropped from performances on the shows “American Gods” and “Creepshow.”
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