The Radicalization of Evan Rachel Wood


On November 17, 2016 we had the opportunity to read about how Evan Rachel Wood became radicalized. This is when Rolling Stone interviewed her about being the highest-ranked star on IMDB. How did she become so highly ranked? Though she was mainly known up to that point for dating and being engaged to Marilyn Manson, now she was the star on one of the most successful shows on television, Westworld. On Westworld she played a heroic android named Dolores, and it was the biggest role of her career. Before this role, Evan played in roles noted for their shock factor or subversiveness, and she had a talent for trauma. With Dolores, she finally was given the opportunity to also be a heroine, and by her own accounts she was ready for the first time in her life to not only play a heroine on a television show, but to channel that spirit into her everyday life.

Up until 2016 there were few public signs of Evan Rachel Wood having the radical tendencies she came to show and continues to show today. By radicalization I mean the dictionary definition of the word, which is the action or process of someone adopting radical positions on political or social issues. One can be radicalized to the far left or to the far right, and this need not include physical violence, but there is a violence certain "harmless" radicals can inflict that may include things like defaming someone's character that is innocent, which serves either their own purpose or that of the movement or organization or just the position one is involved in. Radicals often tend to believe they are in a war of ideas and values, and just like in any war propaganda is used to move one's position up a notch.

It's not very often that we find Evan Rachel Wood publicly talking about politics and political issues before 2016. We never hear her talking negatively about Marilyn Manson before 2016 either, and for that matter even in 2016 she was still talking positively about him. But 2016 was a very political year, so much so that everyone was talking politics in 2016, and many were in turn becoming radicalized, both on the left and on the right. Things like social media and television shows were keeping us in our respective bubbles. Evan's own television and movie roles, social media and personal relationships were empowering her to have a voice and take up a strong position in this heavily politicized atmosphere. As she described it, an "awakening" was taking place within her, and she now had a "voice".

One could say this process began when she took the role in the film Thirteen in 2003, then it went to the next level when she ran off to be with Marilyn Manson in 2007, then it reached its culmination in 2011 when she came out as a bisexual. After this she began to talk about wanting to settle down, so she got married in 2012, had a child in 2013, but was divorced by 2014. In 2015 she entered into a relationship with her band mate Zach Villa, with whom she became engaged till 2017, and focused on her musical career, but that wasn't really going anywhere. Now in 2016 she had the biggest role of her career, and she felt inspired to imitate her character and be a heroine of sorts. In 2016 the perfect storm was coming together for Evan Rachel Wood from which she would emerge a warrior - a social justice warrior. This was her heroic path.

As Evan was going through this process of transformation in 2016, according to her accounts Marilyn Manson still held a dear place in her heart and she viewed her relationship with him as being a positive one. Two instances of this stand out. The first was in an interview with Rolling Stone on June 8, 2016 that primarily focused on her new musical career with Zach. One of the questions was about whether or not she and Marilyn Manson would ever sing privately together, and she replied:
 
"We would, for fun. And you know, I learned a lot from being in that environment, and there’s a lot I took away from that experience. It was unavoidable. And he was somebody who was always very encouraging and believed in my ability. It was another link in the chain."

The second reference to Manson was also made to Rolling Stone, but it was a few months later in her infamous November 17th interview. Here we read the following about her relationship with Manson, which began when she was 19:
 
“I met somebody that promised freedom and expression and no judgments,” she says. “And I was craving danger and excitement. I looked at my mother one day and said, ‘Mom, I’m gonna get on this tour bus for eight months and see the world and have a crazy journey and find myself, and if people aren’t OK with that, I’m sorry, but I can’t live my life for other people.’ ”
 
Turns out people weren’t really OK with that, mostly because of the colossal mindfuck that was just looking at Wood and Manson together. But for Wood it was a learning experience of the highest order. “Most teenagers are searching for identity, and I was thrown into a situation where I was supposed to have that already figured out,” she says. “Then you’re demonized for figuring it out and getting messy. People would call me a whore when I walked down the street, and you can’t not be hurt by that.”

As in all her previous references to Manson since their breakup in August of 2010, Evan dichotomizes the positives of being with Manson with the negatives of the reactions of the press and the people. She wasn't demonized by Manson, she wasn't called a whore by Manson, she wasn't hurt by Manson, but it was "people" who demonized her, called her a whore and hurt her for being with Manson. It was this type of pressure that seems to have led to their breakup in August of 2010.

These two statements about Manson in 2016 are the last statements Evan made about Manson, specifically by naming him, until another infamous day - February 1, 2021. In other words, there was a silence about Manson for almost five years. But was there really a silence?

Let's now take a brief look into how the seeds of radicalization began to sprout for Evan Rachel Wood.


Social Media


In 2016 social media played a major role in the radicalization of the world in many and varied ways. Evan Rachel Wood's Twitter account reflected this. Today she is no longer on Twitter and it is difficult to refer to, though there are specific cases I will refer to in the future. But through Twitter Evan was given an unfiltered voice, and she often came off as being either a victim or self-righteous, especially after 2016, though there were seeds of it even a few years prior. For example, in 2014 she talked about having a horrible time working for Vanity Fair when she was 15, and in 2015 her Twitter feed became a news story when she discussed society's LGBT stereotypes. What became troubling was that she often came off as someone who wanted you to feel sorry for her, and if you didn't then there was something clearly wrong with you. All you have to do is do a Google search of "Evan Rachel Wood Twitter" to see how her use of this social media platform kept her in the headlines. She would throw people and companies she worked with and for in the past under the bus, call out various celebrities and politicians for improprieties, get into feuds with fans who disagreed with her, and on and on it went. It was inevitable that she would go too far when even her fans turned on her in January of 2020 for her calling out Kobe Bryant just hours after his tragic death and calling him a rapist, even though it was merely an allegation that was settled out of court in 2003. The backlash forced her to shut her Twitter account for good and focus more on her Instagram account.


Nylon

In February 2016 Evan found another way to have her voice heard, this time as an Editor of Nylon. Nylon was an American multimedia brand, publishing company, and lifestyle magazine that focuses on pop culture and fashion. Its coverage includes art, beauty, music, design, celebrities, technology and travel. Originally a magazine, it switched to an all digital format in 2017. Its name references New York and London. When Evan joined the team, we were told "we'll be hearing regularly from Evan on the topics that matter to her most, from the bands she's loving to the feminist causes close to her heart." She would go on to write some significant articles for this publication dealing with her awakening process and her claims of sexual abuse.


Donald Trump vs. Hillary Clinton

In a February 2016 interview for Elle, Evan was asked if she was going to endorse a candidate for President. At this point she said the following:
 
"It's a hard thing. We're living in an America where we're really divided. I think there are some things from both political parties that make sense, honestly, and things from both sides that don't. My views are generally more liberal, but I need to do more research before I figure out how I feel about a specific candidate. But I really hope we can unite more. Instead of lashing out at each other and in-fighting, I'd love to learn more about our disagreements. Also there's so much misinformation about "the other side" and their beliefs. I hope Americans can take "the other side" to lunch and just listen to what they have to say. Fighting words and hatred aren't going to get us anywhere."

This comes off as a typically balanced non-controversial view. When she was asked if she would go to lunch with Donald Trump, she replied:
 
"I would love to go to lunch with Donald Trump. Honestly. I'd be like, 'Hey man, seriously, what's up? What's your deal?' I'd love to listen to him, but he'd have to listen to me. We'd have to make ground rules. It's a weird time in this country. And the more we can listen and ask the right questions rather than make the other party look bad, it'll get us farther. Otherwise, it's like watching your parents fight and get divorced. And I'm like, 'I don't care whose fault this is! Fucking fix it! Stop blaming everyone and do something!'"

Again, in February 2016 she comes off as pretty balanced and fair and shows really no signs of radicalization. This will soon change.


Bisexuality Advocate and Her Video in Honor of Pride Month

When Evan came out as a bisexual in 2011, she also revealed that what attracted her most to Manson was not only his in-your-face liberation but also his androgyny. It reminded her of her obsession as a young girl with David Bowie, who also presented himself as androgynous.

On June 12, 2016, Omar Mateen, a 29-year-old man, killed 49 people and wounded 53 more in a mass shooting at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida. It was believed at the time that he did this because of his stance against the gay community, but we have since come to learn that the nightclub was in fact a random choice and he did not know it was a gay nightclub.

In the November 17th interview with Rolling Stone, Evan talks about how two days before this shooting she woke up with “some weird premonitions, an aching in my heart to reach out to the LGBT community and share my story,” which she did in a 19-minute video she posted online. “Nearly half of bisexual women have considered or attempted suicide, they have higher rates of mood disorders such as depression and anxiety, one in two bisexual women has experienced severe violence by an intimate partner,” she said, rocking back and forth and peering at the camera. These are all things, she says, that she has experienced since she realized at age four or five she was attracted to women. But she was not a lesbian, because she was still attracted to men. Basically, she would later come to realize she was bisexual and fluid.

Keep in mind she made this video on June 10th, two days after her interview with Rolling Stone was released on June 8, 2016 where she mentioned Manson. She in fact did it in honor of LGBTQ Pride Month, which is in June.

In the same video we first hear of Evan's suicide attempt at the age of 22, which “was, weirdly, the best-worst thing that ever happened to me. ‘Cause it did not work.” She was more circumspect about the abuse, but admits it was “physical, psychological, sexual.” She specifically says in this video that her first time she thought about committing suicide was after her first kiss with a girl at the age of 12, mainly because it left her very confused and she did not know how to express herself. This lingering feeling lasted for years, and it made her feel lonely. She says that when she finally did attempt to commit suicide, it was because of her bisexuality, her feeling that there was no place for her, her feeling that she had no self-worth.

As for her being in an abusive relationship, she says she was the victim of sexual aggression quit a bit. She ascribes this sexual aggression to her partner having misconceptions of bisexuality by confusing it with sexual deviancy and being adventurous in bed.

By the end of the video she checks off that she fit all the statistics of being a bisexual. Her hope in sharing is to be taken more serious as a bisexual, who are misunderstood by both straight and gay people, and start a dialogue.


The Sexual Abuse Charges of Amber Heard Against Johnny Depp

On May 23, 2016, Amber Heard filed for divorce from Johnny Depp (a close friend of Manson) and also obtained a temporary restraining order against him. She alleged that Depp had physically abused her during their relationship, and said it was usually while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
 
In the June 8th issue of Rolling Stone, Evan was asked:
 
"As far as abusive situations, recently you took to Twitter to blast the media coverage surrounding Amber Heard’s allegations of abuse against Johnny Depp. In particular, you took issue with the fact that Heard’s bisexuality was unnecessarily highlighted in several articles."

She replied:
 
"I can’t comment on the case or any of the allegations of abuse. But as a bisexual I do think it’s a problem when we exploit that, and group it in with some category of deviant, shady behavior. I think it’s a really shitty way to do journalism and I do take offense. It’s done just to get a headline, while at the same time holding back a very large group of people that already have so much to overcome. It’s just one more dig. So that’s an issue that’s close to my heart. And it’s on the album as well – my journey to figure out who I was with my own sexuality. Because it can really apply to so many different aspects of your life."

So in this interview released two days prior to her video in honor of Pride Month, she was defending Amber Heard to the media who she believed was being exploited for her bisexuality, which is often confused, according to Evan, with sexual deviancy.


Illma Gore

Going back a few months to March 22, 2016, Evan published in Nylon an interview she did with Illma Gore. Evan and Illma had just become friends. Illma Gore at that time was known as an artist who identifies as a gender-fluid futurist, who rose to fame with her politically charged artwork that went viral of a pastel rendering called "Make America Great Again," featuring a very nude Donald Trump with a very small penis. It was supposed to be about the connection between genitals and power, and how we define masculinity, all using Trump's body as a jumping-off point. For this image she was banned from all social networks.

The interview explores Illma Gore as an artist, and shows how Evan and Illma are like two peas in a pod. What really comes out is her increased obsession with Trump and his alleged reaction to Gore's art. In one significant comment during the interview, Evan says:
 
"I know I am guilty of not standing up for things, as much as I could, because I could get physically hurt, killed, or tortured for the rest of my life. And that holds a lot of people back. We are being beaten into submission—sometimes quite literally. People are going to have to start really putting themselves on the line. I wish it didn’t have to come to that. ... Well because then ban me. I don’t want to be in your book if that's how it's going to be. And if you do, I’ll get on my megaphone and use whatever voice I have to draw attention to how fucked up, unfair, and frankly, un-American it really is."

There is a lot more that will be said about Illma Gore, but here I just want to highlight her link to Evan being made in 2016, their mutual views on sexuality and politics, and the radical spirit of protest she inspires in her.


Being a Mother and Moving to Nashville

In the November 16th interview with Rolling Stone, Evan says that having a son in 2013 changed everything for her. When she came out as a bisexual in 2011, she was not fully embraced by the gay community and misunderstood by the straight community, and she would go back and forth between the two, but unable to be who she truly was. Then, she says, everything changed when she had a child:
 
“I had my son, and that changed everything. It got me out of my own shit. I just couldn’t be what I was not. We are conditioned in certain ways, and it’s a journey to break that conditioning, and I think that’s been a lot of my journey, honestly.”

By moving to Nashville from Hollywood in 2016, Evan not only was allowing her son to be raised with Southern roots and in an environment of normalcy, but it was also a place where she could focus on her career in music. Music, she says, has helped her feel that it was OK to be androgynous and different, and in the fall of 2016 she was expecting her first album to be released and then embark on a tour.

 
Playing Delores in Westworld

We have already spoken about how much her role as Delores in Westworld inspired her to model her real life on being a similar heroine through social justice. Dolores’ journey is the realization that she has to fight to escape her circumstances – which happens in her head as much as anywhere else. It is a character that is abused and brutalized. Evan not only channeled this character into real life, but she channeled her own real life experiences into the character, which made her role in the show so compelling. In real life she had been fighting the demons in her head, and now has awakened to be who she truly is.


Evan Announces That She Had Been Raped

On November 9, 2016, the first day after Donald Trump was elected President of the United States, in reaction to Trump's election campaign and political views, and to his defeat of presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, Teresa Shook of Hawaii created a Facebook event and invited friends to march on Washington in protest. Similar Facebook pages created by Evvie Harmon, Fontaine Pearson, Bob Bland (a New York fashion designer), Breanne Butler, and others quickly led to thousands of women signing up to march. The Women's March was a worldwide protest on January 21, 2017, the day after the inauguration of President Donald Trump. Supporters of Donald Trump saw the idea of a Women's March as a positive event as long as it was about women's equality and rights, but on the day of the march it seemed to have devolved into more of a political event that excluded women who supported Trump or had more conservative views when it came to issues like abortion.

According to the November 16th issue of Rolling Stone, Evan's interviewer received an email on the morning of November 9th from Evan, apparently inspired by the election of Donald Trump, announcing for the first time that she not only suffered sexual abuse, but she clearly explained that she had been raped, not by one person but by two people. One person was a guy that worked in a bar, and the other was someone she had been in a long-term relationship with. Rolling Stone did not publish the entire email, so Evan posted it in its entirety on Twitter, which can be seen below:


Reading through this letter, it becomes obvious why Evan wrote this the day after Donald Trump was elected. Like many liberal women at the time, she felt strongly that the time had come for a woman to be the President of the United States, and all the polls and news sources were projecting Hillary to be the winner, making Donald Trump's victory a true heartfelt loss and upset. She felt her voice was needed now more than ever, and she was making this statement to the world by releasing her email at the opportune time. She announced her rapes, a truly violent act of vile men against her innocence, and instead of the strong Evan we had been reading about, now Evan shows us that in fact she is #NotOk. She tells us she is still affected by this rape. With Donald Trump as President, we are now living in a world of "blatant bigotry and sexism" and "it's a serious problem."

When she describes her two rapes, it comes off as being scripted into a perfect scenario of victimhood as to why she had not revealed or realized before that she was raped. The first rape, which was by an unnamed man she was in a relationship with, she didn't realize it was a rape because she did not know you can be raped by a sexual partner, while the second rape in a bar she blamed herself for and did not fight back more. But now she realizes neither was her fault and neither was ok. She also says that these two rapes played a role in her suicide attempt when she was 22 years old.

Conclusion

This leaves us with the following timeline: if Evan tried to commit suicide after her first breakup with Manson and before her engagement to Manson, then the person in the bar must have raped her after her first breakup with Manson. We will explore this timeline further in another post, among the many other things posted here. But what we have presented here is all the combined factors, probably among other things that took place in 2016, that led to Evan Rachel Wood's radicalization, which will be further explored and expanded upon in her life in the years to come.