Actor Esme Bianco is suing Marilyn Manson and his former manager, Tony Ciulla, for sexual assault, sexual battery and human trafficking, according to a complaint filed Friday in a District Court for the Central District of California.
Bianco, who played Ros on HBO’s ‘Game of Thrones’, alleges in her lawsuit that the musician (real name Brian Warner) raped and abused her while they were dating in 2011. Bianco also alleges that Warner, Ciulla and Ciulla’s management company violated human trafficking laws by bringing Bianco from London to Los Angeles for roles in Warner’s movie and music video projects that never materialised, all while Warner threatened and sexually abused the actress.
Attorneys for Manson and Ciulla said in statements that the allegations are “provably false” and the case is “offensive and absurd.”
Bianco met Warner in 2005 through an introduction from Warner’s then-fiancee, Dita Von Teese, according to the lawsuit. She alleges that Warner expressed interest in casting her, then a burgeoning actor, for a film project that continued to be delayed over the next few years. Warner allegedly “made his first sexual overtures” toward Bianco after his divorce in 2007, the lawsuit said.
Warner brought Bianco to Los Angeles for the first time in 2009 to shoot a music video for his song ‘I Want to Kill You Like They Do in the Movies’, the lawsuit said. But no crew was on site to film the video, she alleged, and “she was not provided food during the four days ... but was given drugs and alcohol.”
She was also subject to sleep deprivation, threats and physical abuse from Warner, according to the lawsuit. “Perhaps most horrifyingly,” the lawsuit said, “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 utilised by the Nazis.”
The lawsuit alleges that Warner’s connections within the music and film industries, combined with the physical and psychological abuse, discouraged Bianco from speaking out against the musician.
Warner and Bianco began dating that year, during which time the musician engaged in nonconsensual groping, verbal degradation and sexual battery, documents said. The two maintained a long-term relationship, with Warner allegedly bringing Bianco to Los Angeles for video and music projects that were never recorded.
The abuse continued in 2011 when Warner promised to help Bianco secure a visa and launch her acting career in the US, according to court documents. She moved to Los Angeles and lived with Warner, who she alleges “threatened to interfere with her visa process” and subjected her to physical, verbal and psychological abuse. In one instance, the lawsuit says, Warner “chased [Bianco] around the apartment with an axe, smashing holes in the walls.”
The lawsuit alleges that Warner “used drugs, force, and threats of force to coerce sexual acts” from the actress multiple times, including raping her in May of that year.
The lawsuit also names Ciulla, saying that he — along with Warner’s friends, bandmates and other colleagues — knew about and witnessed the abuse alleged in the document. During Warner’s temper tantrums, Bianco said, she contacted Ciulla, who stopped representing Warner after 25 years once allegations against the musician were made public in February.
Bianco alleges that Ciulla’s management company knew of the abuse and “benefited financially from allowing this abuse to continue.”
“These claims are provably false,” said Warner’s attorney, Howard E. King, in a statement to The Times. “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.”
Edwin F. McPherson, an attorney who represents Ciulla Management, told The Times, “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.”
Bianco also released a statement after the complaint was filed.
“For far too long my abuser has been left unchecked, enabled by money, fame and an industry that turned a blind eye,” she said. “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.”
Bianco is an advocate and co-creator of the Phoenix Act, a law that gives domestic violence survivors an exception on the statute of limitations. She is seeking punitive, compensatory and actual damages to be determined by the court, in addition to her legal fees and costs.
The lawsuit comes after a series of sexual and physical abuse accusations against Warner, who is also the target of a Los Angeles County sheriff’s criminal investigation into domestic violence allegations. Actress Evan Rachel Wood spoke out in February about the abuse she endured when she was with Warner.
The musician has since been dropped by his record label and the Creative Artists Agency.