Marilyn Manson has been accused of many things in his time, from corrupting the youth of America to (more recently) rubbing his crotch on the heads of security guards at concerts. Now he’s accused of contributing to a friend’s death.
Maria St. John filed a wrongful death suit in Los Angeles Superior Court on Tuesday, accusing the rocker of supplying her daughter Jennifer Syme — girlfriend of actor Keanu Reeves — with cocaine and encouraging her to drive while inebriated.
The suit claims that Manson, whose real name is Brian Warner, hosted a social gathering at his residence on the evening of April 1, 2001, where Syme, who was 28, consumed “various quantities of an illegal controlled substance” allegedly given to her by Manson. Shortly before dawn, another attendee at the party gave her a lift back to her house, where she got into her 1999 Jeep Cherokee with the intent of returning to Manson’s home, the suit alleges.
“Words cannot express the pain that I feel over the loss of Jennifer Syme’s life,” Manson said in a statement released Wednesday (April 3). “After Jennifer was sent home safely with a designated driver, she later got behind the wheel of her own car for reasons known only to her. Her death is sad and tragic.”
While driving north on Cahuenga Boulevard in Hollywood, Syme crashed into three parked cars on the east side of the street and was thrown from her vehicle. She died at the scene in the early hours of April 2. The investigation determined that she wasn’t wearing a seatbelt. The suit claims Manson was negligent in “instructing [Syme] to operate a motor vehicle in her incapacitated condition.”
Los Angeles police found two rolled-up dollar bills containing a white, powdery substance in the wreck of the car, as well as two bottles of prescription drugs: the muscle relaxant cyclobenzaprine and the anticonvulsant clonazepam. (Clonazepam carries a warning to use caution when driving.) St. John told the police that her daughter had been treated for back pain from a car crash a few days before her death, as well as for depression stemming from the death of her daughter with Reeves, Ava Archer Syme-Reeves. The child was stillborn in the eighth month of pregnancy in late December, 1999.
While the couple had broken up shortly after the birth, Reeves told investigators that they were back together. He acted as a pallbearer at Symes’ funeral, as did Dave Navarro and film director David Lynch, with whom she had once worked as an assistant. (Lynch gave her a bit part as “junkie girl” in “Lost Highway” and dedicated “Mulholland Drive” to her in the closing credits.) Though some obituaries list Syme as a former assistant to Manson, his reps insist that she was never at any time employed by the rocker.
St. John is seeking unspecified damages and attorney’s fees.