Bryan Singer has been breaking records lately: in the past months “Bohemian Rhapsody,” the Queen biopic he directed and produced, broke box office records.
And in the past week, Singer broke a personal record, adding to his list of rape and child sexual assault accusations four additional accusations. In a major investigative report from the Atlantic, two men said that Singer had sex with them when they were teenagers, in states where the act was legally statutory rape. A third man said he was groped by Singer as a teen, as well as pressured into sex. And a fourth said that he was repeatedly molested by Singer as a 13-year-old.
In spite of the questions raised by the Atlantic piece, Singer will keep his job directing “Red Sonja” a comic book adaptation about a barbarian-era sexual assault survivor, for which he is contracted to make up to $10 million pending box office results, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Producer Avi Lerner told THR that Singer is still slated to direct the movie, which is expected to be a major action film on par with Singer’s contributions to the “X-Men” franchise.
Lerner told The Hollywood Reporter:
The over $800 million Bohemian Rhapsody has grossed, making it the highest grossing drama in film history, is testament to his remarkable vision and acumen. I know the difference between agenda driven fake news and reality, and I am very comfortable with this decision. In America people are innocent until proven otherwise.
Singer denied the report from the Atlantic, as he has numerous accusations of sexual misconduct and rape of minors stretching back to 1997. The Atlantic report was a “homophobic smear piece,” he said in a statement shared with USA Today, adding that “After careful fact-checking and, in consideration of the lack of credible sources, Esquire chose not to publish this piece of vendetta journalism. That didn’t stop this writer from selling it to The Atlantic.”
It’s true that the writers of the piece were originally contract to publish the article in Esquire. The Atlantic responded to Singer’s claims with a statement from the writers, Maximillian Potter and Alex French, who wrote that the story had been fully vetted by Hearst lawyers and fact-checkers, but “was then killed by Hearst executives.” The writers say that they do not know why executives at the media conglomerate chose to kill the story.
Singer’s biopic of the band Queen, “Bohemian Rhapsody” was nominated for five academy awards this week, including Best Picture. Singer’s name isn’t on the film — he was removed as director in the last weeks of shooting due to a conflict on set.
Singer did not receive an Academy Award nomination for best director for the film, though he did get a nod from GLAAD. The nomination has been rescinded in light of the additional accusations published in The Atlantic.
Jenny Singer is the deputy lifestyle editor for the Forward. You can reach her at Singer@forward.com or on Twitter @jeanvaljenny