Bohemian Rhapsody director Bryan Singer faces new sex abuse claims
Bryan Singer, the director of Oscar-nominated Freddie Mercury biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, has been stung with more allegations of sexual misconduct towards men and underage boys.
The new allegations against Singer emerged this week, in a feature from Esquire reporters Alex French and Maximillian Potter, published by The Atlantic in their March 2019 issue.
The 53-year-old gay director, best known for The Usual Suspects and the X-Men film franchise, has repeatedly fielded allegations of sexual misconduct across much of his career.
The Bohemian Rhapsody filmmaker was named in two separate 2014 civil lawsuits alleging that he forced 17-year-old Michael Egan III into sexual activities at parties in California and Hawaii, and forced a second unnamed 17-year-old into sexual acts at a party in London. The two lawsuits were later dismissed.
Singer, who denies all wrongdoing, was also investigated by New York police after a report of a 2013 forcible sexual assault against an unnamed man in his 20s, while a fourth man, Cesar Sanchez-Guzman went public in 2017 to allege that Singer had raped him in 2003, when he was 17.
The Atlantic feature included four new accusations against Singer.
Bryan Singer accused of groping 13-year-old boy
One anonymous accuser alleged that he was just 15 when he had sex with Singer in 1997 at a Beverly Hills mansion, while a second alleged he had sex with Singer at a 1997 California party aged 17, below the state’s age of consent.
A third person, identified as Victor Valdovinos, recalled an incident aged 13 while working as an extra in Singer’s 1998 film Apt Pupil. He alleged the director “grabbed my genitals and started masturbating it.”
A further unnamed teen who alleged he had a sexual encounter with Singer told The Atlantic: “He would 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.”
Sanchez-Guzman recalled the alleged rape from 2003, telling the publication: “Bryan approached me wearing this grotesque smile. Like he was laughing.” He added that Singer told him: “Nobody is going to believe you.”
Singer has denied all of the allegations.
The director issued a statement in October 2018 preempting the publication of the story, which the Esquire reporters worked on for 12 months.
He said: “I have known for some time that Esquire magazine may publish a negative article about me.
“They have contacted my friends, colleagues, and people I don’t even know.
“In today’s climate where people’s careers are being harmed by mere accusations, what Esquire is attempting to do is a reckless disregard for the truth, making assumptions that are fictional and irresponsible.”
He accused the reporters of “attempting to tarnish a career I’ve spent 25 years to build” and claimed the investigation was “conveniently timed with the release of my film, Bohemian Rhapsody.”
Bohemian Rhapsody tipped for Oscars success despite Bryan Singer ties
Bohemian Rhapsody was nominated for five Oscars on Tuesday (January 22), including Best Picture, though Singer was not among the Best Director nominees.
Singer signed on to the 20th Century Fox biopic in July 2017, but was sacked part-way through filming in December of that year after allegations about his on-set conduct.
The firing was announced days before Sanchez-Guzman went public with the rape accusation.
Dexter Fletcher stepped in to direct the remainder of the film.
Singer retained the sole direction credit on the final release, but has been absent from all of the film’s premieres, press events and award ceremonies.
Bohemian Rhapsody star Rami Malek claims he was ‘not aware’ of Bryan Singer allegations
The film’s star Rami Malek, who is nominated for Best Actor at the Oscars, has also sought to distance himself from Singer. In an interview published in the LA Times on Tuesday, Malek claimed he was unaware of the allegations against the director.
He said: “As far as I knew, I was considered before Bryan was even attached.
“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.”
The star added: “Who knows what happens with that… but I think somehow we found a way to persevere through everything that was thrown our way.”