Bohemian Rhapsody director Bryan Singer has been accused of sexual assault, including rape, by four more men who say they were underage in a new exposé published by The Atlantic.
The director, who became a powerful Hollywood player for directing the Kevin Spacey-starring The Usual Suspects and X-Men, has been repeatedly accused of sexual misconduct, assault, and rape by young, often underage, men across the past twenty years.
French and Potter detail the power structures in Singer’s social sphere, which saw young gay men – often disowned by their families – allegedly passed around among powerful men at parties.
Allegations against Singer first arose in the 1990s on the set of his film Apt Pupil, on which underage boys were allegedly forced to strip for a shower scene.
One man who spoke out in the latest exposé, Victor Valdovinos, alleges that Singer encountered him in the bathroom at his school, where the film was being shot.
He alleges that Singer asked him to be an extra on the film, with the director then placing him alone in a room on set and visiting Valdovinos. Singer eventually, Valdovinos says, reached through the towel he was wearing and molested him.
Valdovinos was in seventh grade – 13 years old at the time. Several lawsuits were levelled at Singer and the production of Apt Pupil over the treatment of young male extras.
Its star, Brad Renfro, remained in Singer’s orbit, and the director would allegedly refer to the then-15 year old as his “boyfriend”.
Renfro died of a drug overdose in 2008, at the age of 25.
The piece recounts other allegations already levelled at Singer, including those made by Cesar Sanchez-Guzman, who accused Singer of inviting him onto a yacht before forcibly performing oral sex and anally raping Sanchez-Guzman, who was 17 years old at the time.
Sanchez-Guzman’s allegations were first made public in 2017, shortly after Singer was fired from Bohemian Rhapsody with three weeks of shooting left to go.
Singer was fired for failing to show up on set and asking for a lengthy production delay, behaviour sources in the Atlantic article say Singer has exhibited throughout his career.
Other accusers speak anonymously in the piece, fearing reprisal. One man, going by Andy, said he was 15 years old when he first had sex with Singer, who was in his 30s at the time. The age of consent in California is 18 years old.
Another said he had a sexual relationship with Singer while underage, and now says he comes across others who were also part of Singer’s circle.
“There’s a bunch of us,” the man, going by Eric, said. “It’s like, ‘You were one of Singer’s boys? Me too.’ ”
The piece details Singer’s professional and personal relationships with other men in Hollywood who have been similarly accused, and even convicted.
One, Marc Collins-Rector, was the person through whom Andy met Singer; in 2003, Collins-Rector was convicted of transporting a minor across state lines for the purpose of sex, and was arrested with over 8,000 images of child pornography in his possession.
In the piece, friends of Singer recount an incident where the director dragged his much younger boyfriend by the hair down a hallway at a party.
“Many of us regarded it as just another Bryan Singer moment. That kind of behaviour—out here, people put up with it,” one said.
“The portrait of Singer that emerges is of a troubled man who surrounded himself with vulnerable teenage boys,” French and Potter write.
“Their accounts suggest that Singer didn’t act alone; he was aided by friends and associates who brought him young men.
“And he was abetted, in a less direct way, by an industry in which a record of producing hits confers immense power: Many of the sources we interviewed insisted, out of fear of damaging their own career, that we withhold their name, even as they expressed dismay at the behaviour they’d witnessed.”
Singer responded to the article by calling it a “homophobic smear piece” and “vendetta journalism”.
“I am forced to reiterate that this story rehashes claims from bogus lawsuits filed by a disreputable cast of individuals willing to lie for money or attention,” he said in a statement.
Sanchez-Guzman says that after the alleged rape, Singer told him, “Nobody is going to believe you.”
With Bohemian Rhapsody nominated for Best Picture at this year’s Academy Awards, and having just won Best Motion Picture – Drama at the Golden Globes, many are questioning why Singer – with numerous public allegations against him – was allowed to helm the project at all.
Sources allege that Queen made demands to the film’s studio, Twentieth Century Fox, that the film would not go ahead without Bryan Singer in the director’s chair.
Singer was ultimately replaced by Dexter Fletcher for the remainder of the shoot, but Singer remains the credited filmmaker under Director’s Guild of America rules.
He has conspicuously not been nominated for a Best Director award throughout awards season, despite repeated recognition of the film itself.
Rumours first swirled that an exposé of Singer was coming last year, initially set for publication by Esquire.
As one prominent actor says in the piece, “After the Harvey Weinstein news came out, everyone thought Bryan Singer would be next.”
French and Potter released a statement saying that the story was cleared by fact-checkers, an attorney, and approved for publication at Esquire, but was killed by executives at the magazine’s publisher, Hearst.
“We do not know why,” they said.
Singer already has his next project set up – a big-budget film titled Red Sonja, the main character of which is a sexual assault survivor. In the wake of the renewed allegations, the studio behind the project has yet to say if Singer will remain attached to the project.