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Ashley Walters v. Marilyn Manson (Part Three - 2021 Media Features of Ashley Walters)

In 2021, Ashley Walters was featured in three media articles to supplement her statements and lawsuit against her former boss, Marilyn Manson. It seems that besides their social media statements, each of Manson's main accusers worked out deals to be featured by the media in various ways. Ashley Walters was featured twice by The Cut (Feb. 10, 2021 and May 18, 2021) and once by Rolling Stone (Nov. 14, 2021). Here we will explore each one. 1. The Cut (Feb. 10, 2021) This story was titled " Marilyn Manson ‘Almost Destroyed Me’: Game of Thrones actress Esmé Bianco says her relationship with the singer left her with physical scars and PTSD ". It was written by Angelina Chapin, who since this article has written five more articles on the Manson cases for The Cut . This one in particular focuses on Esme Bianco's accusations against Manson, but supplemented by the testimony of her close friend Ashley Walters, who is named 20 times in this article. 4 of the 20 times Ashley W

Ashley Walters v. Marilyn Manson (Part Three - 2021 Media Features of Ashley Walters)

In 2021, Ashley Walters was featured in three media articles to supplement her statements and lawsuit against her former boss, Marilyn Manson. It seems that besides their social media statements, each of Manson's main accusers worked out deals to be featured by the media in various ways. Ashley Walters was featured twice by The Cut (Feb. 10, 2021 and May 18, 2021) and once by Rolling Stone (Nov. 14, 2021). Here we will explore each one.

1. The Cut (Feb. 10, 2021)

This story was titled "Marilyn Manson ‘Almost Destroyed Me’: Game of Thrones actress Esmé Bianco says her relationship with the singer left her with physical scars and PTSD". It was written by Angelina Chapin, who since this article has written five more articles on the Manson cases for The Cut. This one in particular focuses on Esme Bianco's accusations against Manson, but supplemented by the testimony of her close friend Ashley Walters, who is named 20 times in this article. 4 of the 20 times Ashley Walters is mentioned is because 3 of her photos of Bianco are exclusively featured in this article, which means she was paid to take part in this interview as well as contribute her own testimony to bear witness to what Bianco alleges. It should also be noted that Angelina Chapin admits that she was given exclusive private texts and emails and photos and video to supplement the claims of Bianco and Walters. Based on what is submitted in this article, this seems to be a portion of Bianco's evidence file, which I have in my possession in full, therefore I will reference my own impressions of this specific evidence as it is brought up.

This is the first reference to Walters in the article:

"During this period, Manson’s personal assistant, Ashley Walters, says she managed travel for Bianco and other women, many of whom were also flown to L.A. with the promise of photo shoots or music videos. 'I was basically giving him a schedule of who’s at what hotel,' says Walters, who recently alleged that she too was a victim of Manson’s. 'I didn’t know how far the violence was going at the time.'"

I see nothing wrong with what she says here. It is true that throughout the employment of Ashley Walters as Manson's personal assistant, which began right as Manson and Evan Rachel Wood ended their engagement, he was with a number of women whose travel and visits were being organized by Walters for the most part. What is interesting about her statement here is that she "didn’t know how far the violence was going at the time." For someone who claims to have been constantly around Manson during this time when he was with these women, how is it possible to not have known the alleged violence was going on if it really happened? Manson was living in a one bedroom apartment at the time, which is where Ashley also was working out of, not on a piece of property with many rooms and acres where he could hide such behavior. That she pleads ignorance of what was going on is a strong argument that it was not going on at all, or at least in any significant noticeable way.

The second reference:

"One night in May, Manson sent Walters a text saying someone had broken a glass in the studio and that 'Esme is gonna get the brunt of this. Don’t care.'”

This incident allegedly took place in May 2011. In fact, I have a copy of the original text, which Manson sent Walters on May 11th 2011 at around 9 p.m. as she was driving to his studio. This text message was part of Esme's evidence file that mistakenly was leaked by her lawyer. The problem with this text is that there is absolutely no context to it, but from the various emails and texts from this time which I have read in Esme's evidence file, we do know that Manson was very stressed with a heavy workload and obligations, and this is around the time he was trying to find personal space and be alone to do his work and meet his own personal needs without anyone, including Esme, being in the way, who apparently was living with Manson at the time and Manson was feeling "crowded", as he put it, by her always being around and stifling him. Before he talked about the broken glass, there is a partial message of Manson telling her he is feeling stressed out and he says he cut his fingers with lightbulbs. It appears something went south with Twiggy in the studio and this is what Manson was stressed about. When he brings up the part about Esme, one can only speculate, but it seems he just wanted her out of the house. This is around the time Manson was feeling like he was done with Esme, but didn't want to break up with her, so he just sent her to live in a hotel. One thing that this text does not indicate is that it had anything to do with any sort of abuse, as Walters would like us to believe.

The third reference:

"Others in Manson’s orbit also had to play by his rules. 'Whatever he is doing, you should be doing,' says Walters. 'If he’s spinning out and staying up, you need to stay up. And if he’s not eating, you just don’t eat.' Walters says that since Manson was nocturnal, her work days started around 7 p.m., and she once stayed up for 48 hours."

When you read this, bear in mind that this is a paid employee of Manson who is talking, and not just any employee, but his personal assistant, and I'm sure she was paid very well for that position, let alone all the connections she got out of the job for her personal career. Part of the job of a personal assistant is to be available and on call whenever your employer needs you. This doesn't mean your employer is forcing you to not sleep or not eat. If you want to sleep at a time when he needs you to work, or eat at a time when he needs you to work, then you are obligated to do so, otherwise you quit the job and say this is more than you can handle but thank you for the opportunity. But there is no indication or evidence that Manson was forcing her to labor on his behalf with no chance of quitting. To complain years later that he was being abusive for these things is ridiculous.

Around 2012, I worked as a personal assistant for a former professor of mine, with the promise of a future position that never came to be. He only paid me $500 a month, but it required a lot of work. One thing I had to do was drive him once every two weeks from Boston to Montreal (about a 6 hour drive) and again once every two weeks from Boston to somewhere in New York (about a 5 hour drive), because he taught graduate courses in schools there. My job was to drive him to these locations, attend the lecture and meetings in case he needed anything, and then drive back to Boston the same day, without ever taking a nap or a break for myself. It was exhausting, adding to the fact that he never offered to drive part of the way and would often nap in front of me in the passenger seat and would not let me listen to the radio or eat in his car. I recall once being so tired I missed an exit off the highway and we drove an hour out of the way before I realized cause I was so tired. Ashley Walters may interpret something like this as being abusive, and maybe to some extent it is cruel, but I knew that this was part of the job if I wanted to eventually get out of the job what I wanted, which I never did. But I don't look at this as abusive as I recall it, because it was something I chose to be a part of, and if I chose not to be a part of it, then I would have quit and it would have been over. Someone with a victim mentality may try to convince me it was abusive, but the fact of the matter is that it wasn't.

The fourth reference:

"Manson kept the house very cold — in the low 60s — and always had blackout curtains drawn, according to Bianco, Walters, and Alex. (Bianco says if anyone messed with the temperature, the singer would yell.) The carpets and furniture were black, and it was so dark they sometimes had to use flashlights and headlamps to get around and had no idea what time of day it was. But no one challenged Manson, since he could easily become angry and might start breaking things. 'Everybody was dehumanized,' says Walters. 'Everyone was constantly walking on eggshells.'”

I don't know who Alex is (probably Fred Sablan). Manson allowed Esme to stay at his house on his dime and tried to help her get her visa, while Walters was a paid employee. Esme was never forced to stay with Manson, instead, according to her own evidence file, Manson was trying to get rid of her within a few weeks of her moving in cause she was "crowding" him, so she could have left any time. If Walters didn't like any part of her workplace conditions, she also could have left any time. Both chose to stay in his house, and if he preferred a cold dark house, you choosing to be around him means you either are choosing to be a part of that environment and deal with being uncomfortable or you choose to leave and not deal with it. No wonder Manson was feeling stressed by Esme's presence in his house, who seemed to be a constant whiner and wouldn't allow Manson to live as he felt comfortable in his own home. We also know that they both had cell phones, so the accusation that Manson wouldn't allow them to know what time of day it was is ridiculous. Manson clearly wanted to be comfortable in his own home, and for others this may have been uncomfortable, and if they were trying to mold their standards into his home environment, he had every right to be angry, and if Walters thought this was dehumanizing for her then she should have quit her job. By her choosing every day to continue being his personal assistant, she was daily choosing to be a part of an environment that may be unpredictable and uncomfortable. Other assistants of Manson do not share the same sentiments as Walters, not even Dan Cleary complained about these things.

The fifth reference:

"Bianco says that when she moved in, she and Manson agreed to be monogamous. She quickly learned that was not the case. Walters says that while Manson had sex with other women in his studio, she would be asked to keep an eye on Bianco or get her out of the house."

I don't know if Manson agreed to be monogamous while he was with Esme. This was not a monogamous period for Manson. Maybe he intended it to be in the beginning, but this was a time Manson was juggling around a few women, some who he seemed to care for more than others, and it seems that he was looking for someone who was the right match for him. In fact, based on Esme's evidence file, the main catalyst for Esme breaking up with Manson was because one night he decided to spend it with Sarah McNeilly instead of her, and it is true that Esme did not want to tolerate any cheating in the relationship. What is interesting is that Walters was the one helping Manson make the proper arrangements with these women, and she helped keep Esme in the dark about it, so if Esme is going to blame Manson, then she should also blame Walters for being an accomplice.

The sixth reference:

"The former assistant adds that the singer’s room contained a closet-size glass-walled space he called the 'bad girl’s room,' that Manson could lock from the outside."

Walters has stated that she never saw Manson use this alleged "bad girl's room", so the only reason she brings it up in this interview is for shock value. The one accuser who says Manson did use this room on her, Ashley Morgan Smithline, recanted her allegations and has said that everything she accused Manson of was not true and that in fact he was a sweet guy, thus making the allegations about this room frivolous. The "lock from the outside" reference comes from an interview Manson did where the interviewer describes the room, but gives no indication that he actually saw it. In fact, those who had seen it at the time have stated, and a photo of the room proves, that this room did not have a lock on it, but it was just something the apartment came with when Manson got it and it looked ominous in the corner of his bedroom so he gave it an ominous name, and that's it.

The seventh reference:

"He hated being alone, according to Walters, and was always surrounded by people — and cocaine. (She adds that she would bring him a tray in bed with food and a glass of absinthe; then he’d snort a line of cocaine off his nightstand. 'That was breakfast,' she said.) The core group included his bandmates, who at the time were staying there most nights recording the album Born Villain in his home studio; Walters; and the various women who came and went. Manson’s mood dictated the evenings. Sometimes he wanted to turn on the smoke machine and party; other times they watched his favorite horror movies on repeat or sat around like hostages beholden to his violent tantrums. When famous musicians, actors, or directors would come over, everyone in his inner circle would have to 'put on our happy faces' and make sure the place looked perfect, Walters tells me."

In the text messages from Esme Bianco's evidence file which I have read between Manson and Walters, Manson sometimes complains to Walters that he needed to be alone to work or get rest and that he felt smothered by people being always around him, so I wouldn't say this picture she is painting is entirely accurate, though I do know that in this period of his life he was working hard to create a creative environment that included other like-minded artists. Manson's use of cocaine and its use among artists and even Walters herself is no secret. When this article was first published, the second sentence read: "(She adds that she would bring him a tray in bed with a glass of absinthe and a line of cocaine after he woke up. 'That was breakfast,' she said.)" The article was edited to include the part about the tray including "food", which means the original intent of Walters was to show that Manson relied solely on his drug consumption. Walters was usually only around at night till the morning of the next day, when Manson was up and about, often recording his album with his band. But the whole point of this reference is to show how Manson made everyone around him miserable and forced them to do things they didn't want to. But this is only an interpretation of Walters many years after feeling bitter resentment towards Manson for firing her and allegedly speaking negatively about her to people in the music industry which she felt hurt her career. Now it just seems like she is trying to badmouth him and smear his name in order to completely immobilize his career. In fact, the reason I've heard Walters was fired the second time was because she was slacking off too much and using her work time to party and do drugs, which is something also that a former band member once said got his predecessor in the band fired. Manson doesn't like people that work with him and especially for him to party too much and do drugs and slack off in their obligations, and he sets himself as an example of not doing things to excess.

The eighth reference:

"At one party, Manson lifted up [Bianco's] skirt and spanked her butt, which was already covered in a bruise — a moment Walters captured on-camera."

This video is also in the Bianco evidence file, and I've seen the whole thing in context. This was a private birthday party Manson arranged and paid for in a small room of the Chateau Marmont for Bianco, and during the party Walters is filming Bianco lying on her stomach on her girlfriend's knees, who is spanking her butt for what seems to be the the number of times equivalent to her age. After each smack, the girlfriend is rubbing her butt to remove the sting. Then Manson, being playful, as he was watching this, goes over and spanks her butt once, and though it was not done with any noticeable force, you can tell it hurt her a little probably cause he moved forward a bit too quick, but she still remained on her stomach to be spanked for the required number and can be seen smiling and having a good time. Manson does not lift up her skirt more than it already was. As for a bruise, it might be there, but no one can see it.

The ninth reference:

"Once, [Bianco] remembers, [Manson] repeatedly cut her torso with a knife. 'I just remember laying there, and I didn’t fight it,' she says. 'It was kind of this final-straw moment where I had lost all sense of hope and safety.' He sent a photo of her cuts to Walters and one of his bandmates at the time, with the subject line 'See what happens?'"

This photo is also in Bianco's evidence file, which I have seen. The problem I have is that this was taken, based on the timeline of events by Bianco, just about a month or so before Bianco was seen doing a photoshoot and an interview with a dress that exposed her back which appeared smooth. I won't deny she had the marks, but the fact that they did not scar, or even appear a month or a few weeks later, makes me question what really happened. The question really is whether or not she consented for the photos. There is no indication that Esme did not consent, based on her evidence file; in fact, Esme sounds more than willing to do anything, including shed blood, for the sake of art, and even appears to sometimes ask for it. Also, Esme says in her evidence file, very vaguely to allow for an open interpretation, though when you put everything together you realize that what upset Esme with Manson was that she thought they were exclusive while he was seeing other women besides her. As for Manson sending people the photo to others, including Walters, which was actually posted on his website, with "See what happens?", I'm sure at the time they knew perfectly well what they were seeing was Manson joking around and not making an actual threat. Manson has posted stuff like that with similar messages on his social media for years to his general audience, some even more graphic. It just makes someone like Walters look worse for making an inside joke or playfulness into a threat just because she lacks any evidence to substantiate her claims.

2. The Cut (May 18, 2021)

Angelina Chapin, who wrote the article about Esme Bianco for The Cut in February 2021, for which she also interviewed Ashley Walters, revisited the Manson allegations when Walters herself issued a lawsuit against Manson in May 2021. This article was titled "‘I Was His Property’: Marilyn Manson’s Former Assistant Sues". It basically goes over what the lawsuit allegations are, but there are a few additional comments from Walters she gave to The Cut for publication.

The first reference:

"[Walters] lived in fear of his angry outbursts, the complaint says, which included throwing dishes at Walters or pushing her against a wall, along with constant threats ... 'You just put your head down and you’re in survival mode,' she told the Cut. 'At the time I felt isolated, like I couldn’t go anywhere.'"

Keep in mind, this is an employee talking about her boss, and not just any employee, but his personal assistant. This was not a relationship, even if she felt like they were friends or family. Walters could have quit any time if she felt threatened. It's not like Walters even worked with Manson for years and had any sort of attachment to him. When you agree to work under certain conditions that you don't approve of, then you are consenting to be there. In all her allegations, she never says that she sat down to talk to Manson about all the things she doesn't like going on. And this is assuming these allegations are true. Personally, I've quite jobs where managers have done a lot less when I was younger than Walters at this point, so I find it difficult to sympathize with her even if everything she says is true.

The second reference:

"[Walters] said the singer expected her to please his friends, whether that meant bringing them food, flirting with them, or letting them touch her. 'It made me feel like I was his property,' she told the Cut. 'It just made me feel like a piece of meat.' A former member of Manson’s inner circle who asked to remain anonymous said they witnessed Manson tell Walters to sit on men’s laps, and said that he 'offered up Ashley more than a few times.'"

As Manson's personal assistant, it is her job to "please his friends", which includes things like bringing them food and drinks, so the fact that she includes this part in her lawsuit tells me that she was just a woman who didn't want to do the work that went with the perks of the job. I also don't see anything wrong with a man asking a woman to flirt with someone to get something from them, as long as she is willing to do it, and there is no indication that she ever objected. Women do this on their own quite often, as well as men. Nothing here sounds non-consensual. Again, we are assuming these allegations are true. If after ten years she looks back and has regrets about not reacting more strongly against doing such things, then the problem is more with herself and should be more with herself than with Manson. If Manson is getting consent from her, then why would he feel like she has boundaries. In fact, based on Walter's now deleted Twitter account, she doesn't seem to have had many boundaries at the time. For example, on September 4, 2010, when she was working with Manson, she tweeted out to the world at 8:52 PM: "I'd spread my legs for daniel day-lewis." She has tweeted similar things about other famous men and even women. This was no doubt the side of Walters that Manson knew. As for the comment from the person in Manson's inner circle, who seems to be Fred Sablan, I would like to know what he means by "offered up" exactly, what it entailed and how serious was Manson when he did this, because it may be that Manson saw Walters being very flirty on her own, and he jokingly offered her up, and Ashley went along with the joke, or maybe he said something in jest because he was tired of her being flirty. The allegation, like most, is all hearsay.

3. Rolling Stone (Nov. 14, 2021)

In the "extensive" Rolling Stone investigation from 2021 titled "Marilyn Manson: The Monster Hiding in Plain Sight", which is now laughably dated, Ashley Walters appears a few times, but only once offers an exclusive comment that we don't already see from her lawsuit.

The first and only reference:

"[Manson] called it the 'Bad Girls’ Room.' Ashley Walters, a former assistant suing Warner for sexual assault and other charges, says he enjoyed telling people about the chamber. 'He always had a joking, bragging tone,' she remembers."

Rolling Stone started their "extensive investigation" into the Manson allegations by talking about the so-called "Bad Girl's Room". Manson fans recall him talking about this room in interviews at the time, and the allegations about it have been completely refuted. Moreover, the only person to ever claim she was locked in this "chamber" was Ashley Morgan Smithline, who has since recanted her allegations, apologized to Manson and reconciled with him. With her allegations out the window, all talk about the Bad Girl's Room is frivolous. And to Walters, the reason Manson sounded like he was joking about it was because he was joking about it, and she knows he was joking, because she never saw anyone in the Bad Girl's Room.