X-Men director Bryan Singer accused of ‘controlling, abusive’ relationship with young assistant
X-Men and Bohemian Rhapsody director Bryan Singer has been accused of “traumatising” and “abusing” a former assistant.
Singer has been accused of sexual misconduct by multiple men, and was named in two 2014 civil lawsuits.
In one, it was alleged that he forced 17-year-old Michael Egan III into sexual activities at parties in California and Hawaii, and in another that he forced a second unnamed 17-year-old into sexual acts at a party in London.
The first lawsuit was dismissed, and the second he settled for $150,000. He denies all allegations against him.
Blake Stuerman, now 30, went public with his experiences of alleged abuse in an op-ed for Variety this week.
In 2009, when he was 18 years old, Stuerman said that he was “working in New York as an assistant scenic designer when I was introduced to Bryan Singer”.
At the time, Singer was 43, and Stuerman wrote that he looked “no older than 15” and was the “textbook definition of a twink”.
He met Singer for the first time when he was invited to an expensive dinner with men in the film industry, after which “Bryan invited all of us back to his sprawling hotel suite”.
Stuerman recalled: “He asked to see my driver’s license because he couldn’t believe I was actually 18. I was accustomed to people asking how old I was because I did look so young.”
He said that as it got late, Singer tried to convince him to stay, but he insisted on taking the subway home. Singer, he said, “insisted on giving me money for a cab and invited me to spend the week hanging out with him and his friends”.
Eventually, one night, “the group left his suite a few at a time until I found myself alone with Bryan”, said Stuerman. He was also “intoxicated for the first time in his life”.
“My chest grows tight now just thinking about it,” he wrote.
“You can imagine what happened next. I didn’t know I was allowed to say no. I didn’t know that alcohol was affecting my decision-making ability.”
Blake Stuerman said he found himself in a ‘controlling’ relationship with Bryan Singer
As Bryan Singer made more money, his accuser Blake Stuerman said, he considered himself “untouchable” and “began to expect sex more frequently”.
Singer described himself as Stuerman’s “mentor”, and brought him to “sets, post-production sessions, script readings, development meetings, film festivals, parties and dinners”.
At one party at Singer’s house in 2012, Stuerman claims he became violent with another guest, before allegedly telling Stuerman: “I’ll f**king kill you if you leave me.”
He said: “Those were his exact words. I had never witnessed or experienced physical violence before meeting Bryan.”
From that point onwards, Stuerman said he “lived in fear of Bryan following through on his threats”, and claimed: “He berated me, and dangled my future in front of me. I wasn’t allowed to date. I wasn’t allowed to have sex with people of my choosing. He controlled me.”
Unable to cope anymore, suffering from frequent panic attacks, Stuerman says he finally managed to extricate himself from the relationship while working with Singer on the film X-Men: Days of Future Past, and effectively ended his career.
“I am a victim of abuse by a very powerful, very wealthy and very sick man,” said Stuerman.
“I am a victim of Bryan Singer.”
In response to the allegations, Bryan Singer’s lawyer said his accuser was ‘paranoid, delusional, and needy’
When confronted with a summary of Blake Stuerman’s op-ed, Bryan Singer’s lawyer Andrew Brettler sent a four-page letter to Variety in response.
In the letter, he described Stuerman’s claims as “uncorroborated, inflammatory, and highly defamatory”, and added: “As you will see, [Mr Stuerman] also repeatedly asks Mr Singer for money, for a job, and for a place to live.
“Early in their relationship, he and Mr Singer both expressed their affection for one another, but as time passed, Mr Stuerman grew increasingly paranoid, delusional, and needy.
“It was then that Mr Singer began distancing himself from Mr Stuerman.”
He did not, however, dispute or comment on Singer having a sexual relationship with the then-18-year-old, nor did he dispute that Stuerman witnessed violence by Singer at the 2012 party.
More: Bryan Singer