New accusations of sexual misconduct with underage boys are being made against fired Bohemian Rhapsody director Bryan Singer.
A story in the Atlantic details a yearlong investigation into the accusations against 53-year-old Singer, during which more than 50 sources were interviewed, including four men who had never gone on the record with their allegations. The claims against Singer range from alleged victims saying they were seduced by Singer while underage, to others alleging they were raped.
In the report, four men allege that Singer victimized them when they were teens in the late ’90s. One, Victor Valdovinos, said he was a 13-year-old student when Singer, shooting the controversial film Apt Pupil at Valdovinos’s middle school, approached him in the school bathroom, told him he was attractive and asked him to be an extra in the film. Valdovinos’s outfit for the locker room scene was a towel and nothing else, and he claimed that Singer reached through the towel flaps and “grabbed my genitals and started mαsturbating it.” Valdovinos also alleged that Singer “rubbed his front part on me” and “did it all with this smile.” Valdovinos also told the Atlantic that Singer told him, “You’re so good-looking … I really want to work with you … I have a nice Ferrari …I’m going to take care of you.”
The three other men were given pseudonyms to protect their identities. One, given the name Andy, said he had sex with Singer at a Benedict Canyon mansion when he was 15. (“First room on the right, top of the stairs,” he recalled.) Another, Eric, said he was 17 when he had sex with a 31-year-old Singer both at Singer’s estate and another nearby L.A. party palace. Another man, identified as Ben, said he had oral sex with Singer when he was 17 or 18. He claimed that Singer’s M.O. was to “stick his hands down your pants without your consent. He was predatory in that he would ply people with alcohol and drugs and then have sex with them.”
Andy also talked about how Apt Pupil star Brad Renfro, then 15, was in the bedroom when he hooked up with Singer. Two sources told the magazine that Singer sometimes referred to Renfro as his boyfriend. “I remember wanting Brad to join in,” Andy recalled. “I don’t think Brad was gay, or even bi. I think he was going with the flow. We talked about it. Like me, he looked around at all of the things these guys had, all of the money. Maybe he thought the guys were going to do things for him.” Renfro died of a drug overdose in 2008, at the age of 25.
The investigation also combed through past lawsuits against Singer, noting his personal life hadn’t really been under scrutiny until 2014 when Michael Egan sued him. The suit alleged that Singer was part of a group of powerful entertainment executives who “maintained and exploited boys in a sordid sex ring.” Egan, who claimed he was 17 when the director raped him, also sued three other men who he said were involved in the ring. However, Egan’s stories had some inconsistencies, he had other legal issues and he ultimately withdrew his case. It is noted that Egan passed a polygraph and was interviewed for more than six hours by a psychiatrist, who found him to be credible. Also, at one point Singer agreed to pay Egan a $100,000 settlement, but Egan rejected the offer because he would have to sign a nondisclosure agreement, the Atlantic reports.
Cesar Sanchez-Guzman, who sued Singer in December 2017 alleging that Singer raped him on a yacht in 2003 when he was 17 (the lawsuit is pending), was also interviewed for the piece. “The industry will brush things under the rug and pretend nothing happened,” said Sanchez-Guzman, citing Bohemian’s Rhapsody’s recent awards show success. “Most people don’t see the truth.”
Bret Tyler Skopek, a former boyfriend of Singer’s, also went on the record. He claimed he was 18 in 2013 when he started dating Singer. He would have drug-filled orgies with the director, he said. The relationship quickly cooled after Egan’s lawsuit. He claimed Singer’s assistant handed him a big roll of cash — about $10,000 in hundreds — and said Singer said he should find a place to stay. Skopek thought it was because Singer’s private life had been getting so much attention.
The Atlantic investigation was conducted by Alex French and Maximillian Potter, who are both affiliated with Esquire magazine. Their article was initially expected to appear in Esquire around the time that Bohemian Rhapsody was released. Singer, who has denied all claims of misconduct, spoke out about the piece when it was expected to run in October 2018.
And Singer issued a statement Wednesday after the Atlantic piece came out, which was shared by journalist Yashar Ali. Singer called the piece “vendetta journalism” and a “homophobic smear piece.”
2. Bryan Singer’s statement in response to the Atlantic investigation. pic.twitter.com/kx98H6lAcG
— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) January 23, 2019
French and Potter then issued a statement explaining why the story didn’t run in Esquire. They also said they are “grateful that the alleged victims now have a chance to be heard.”
— The Atlantic Communications (@TheAtlanticPR) January 23, 2019
For this story, Singer’s attorney, Andrew B. Brettler denied to the outlet that Singer had ever had sex with underage boys and disputed various details of the accusers’ accounts. He also told the Atlantic that Singer has never been arrested or charged with a crime.
Singer was fired from Bohemian Rhapsody with just weeks left to go on the production. However, the film has been doing well during awards season, picking up the Best Picture award at the Golden Globes just a couple of weeks ago. On Tuesday, the movie was nominated for an Oscar.
Singer didn’t attend the Globes — and the actors and execs involved with Bohemian Rhapsody didn’t mention him. Rami Malek, who starred as Freddie Mercury in the film, had faced criticism as of late for working with Singer in the first place. He finally addressed the chatter in a new interview with the Los Angeles Times during which he was asked if he regretted working with Singer.
“As far as I knew, I was considered before Bryan was even attached,” he said. “So I had my head down preparing for this for about a year ahead of time, and I never really looked up. I didn’t know much about Bryan. I think that the allegations and things were, believe it or not, honestly something I was not aware of, and that is what it is. Who knows what happens with that … but I think somehow we found a way to persevere through everything that was thrown our way.”
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