“Nobody is going to believe you.”
January 23, 2019 9:49 AM   Subscribe

The Bohemian Rhapsody director Bryan Singer has been trailed by accusations of sexual misconduct for 20 years. Here, his alleged victims tell their stories. [The Atlantic] “We spent 12 months investigating various lawsuits and allegations against Singer. In total, we spoke with more than 50 sources, including four men who have never before told their stories to reporters. A man we’ll call Eric told us that he was 17 in 1997 when he and Singer had sex at a party at the director’s house; another we’ll call Andy says he was only 15 that same year, when he and Singer had sex in a Beverly Hills mansion. Both men say Singer, who was then in his early 30s, knew they were under 18, the age of consent in California. (They asked The Atlantic to conceal their identity for fear of retaliation, and because they didn’t want certain details about their past made public.).”

• Bryan Singer Accused of Sexually Abusing Numerous Underage Boys [Vanity Fair]
“The director has been hit with similar allegations before; claims that he raped or abused underage boys have followed Singer nearly since he was catapulted to the A-list in 1995, when he directed the breakout hit The Usual Suspects. Despite the allegations, however, Singer has enjoyed continued success as a producer and director of high-profile films, like the lucrative X-Men franchise. Most recently, he directed the Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, which has since grossed almost $800 million worldwide and has been nominated for five Oscars, including a best actor nod for Rami Malek. But Singer was fired from that film just weeks before shooting wrapped, apparently because he was repeatedly absent from the set; Singer claimed at the time that he was dealing with an ailing parent.”
• Bryan Singer has responded to the allegations in the Atlantic report [Twitter]
“The last time I posted about this subject, Esquire magazine was preparing to publish an article written by a homophobic journalist who has a bizarre obsession with me dating back to 1997. 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 sad that The Atlantic would stoop to this low standard of journalistic integrity. Again, 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. And it is no surprise that, with Bohemian Rhapsody being an award-winning hit, this homophobic smear piece has been conveniently timed to take advantage of its success.”
• Rami Malek claims he was "not aware" of Brian Singer allegations [Los Angeles Times]
“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. Who knows what happens with that … but I think somehow we found a way to persevere through everything that was thrown our way. Perhaps that was Freddie himself doing it, because we wanted to make a product that was worthy of him. Who knows? I’m just proud that this cast and crew collectively raised their game and we depended on one another. It was a testament to everyone’s spirit and courage and skill. And one thing I will say about everyone — almost everyone — we never gave up. How about that?”
posted by Fizz (53 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
 
Is Alex French or Maximillian Potter the alleged "homophobic journalist who has a bizarre obsession with [Bryan Singer] dating back to 1997"? (It's impossible not to read that in Regina George's voice.)
posted by nicebookrack at 10:22 AM on January 23


"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."

Okay Rami. (emphasis mine)

In the rest of the quote here is he saying that the allegations were something that was thrown their way that they persevered through to make the film? Maybe with the help of Freddie? Because ew.
posted by ODiV at 10:27 AM on January 23 [13 favorites]


It looks like the tweet from @adambvary in the More Inside section has been deleted and apparently reposted here.
posted by skynxnex at 10:33 AM on January 23


[Updated the post]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 10:36 AM on January 23 [1 favorite]


Just gonna leave this piece here, where Bryan Singer appears in a notable supporting role.
posted by casarkos at 10:38 AM on January 23 [11 favorites]


In the rest of the quote here is he saying that the allegations were something that was thrown their way that they persevered through to make the film?

I believe he's referring to the on-set difficulties - that, even aside from these particular allegations, which he's saying he didn't know during the filming, it was a difficult shoot. He's crediting basically everyone involved in the movie except Singer with its success.
posted by dnash at 10:39 AM on January 23 [8 favorites]


Thank you, I'm glad to have read that wrong. I should have read the entire piece for context first.
posted by ODiV at 10:42 AM on January 23


Well, I feel like a fucking idiot. I'd defended him in the past because the suit against him in 2014 was thrown out and his accuser ended up going to jail for a fraud conviction, and, well, I just didn't want to believe it. I feel sorry for anyone and everyone whose work with him will be tainted by association (except for Kevin Spacey, of course).
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:54 AM on January 23 [6 favorites]


The portrait of Singer that emerges is of a troubled man who surrounded himself with vulnerable teenage boys, many of them estranged from their families. 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
This right here is the most damning part, and it's a pattern of abuse we've seen with so many other predators.
posted by Fizz at 10:57 AM on January 23 [25 favorites]


It's part of the awful magic of the patriarchy that successful men from marginalized groups can exploit the marginalized-group dynamics to predate on people who are, or are perceived to be, in the group. Many outside the group won't care what happens to those in it; many in the group will support them either because they dream of having the same privileges as white men or because they don't want their group's "dirty laundry aired"; people sympathetic to the group will be hesitant to say anything because they fear playing into stereotypes or otherwise facilitating further mistreatment of group members. Thus, people like Singer and R. Kelly. Ugly, ugly, ugly.
posted by praemunire at 10:58 AM on January 23 [50 favorites]


it was a difficult shoot. He's crediting basically everyone involved in the movie except Singer with its success.

I met Mr. Malek a few years back, before any serious fame. I certainly had no idea who he was, just another guy in the kitchen at a party talking movies. Paul Thomas Anderson's name came up and somebody said something derogatory about his treatment of actors on set at which point Malek said, "No, actually." At which point he revealed he'd just spent the previous months working with him on The Master.

Anyway, Malek seemed an entirely cool, nice, genuine person, way more interested in what others had to offer in the conversation than talking about himself. And when he did talk about his day job, it was very much from a perspective of the passion he had for it, to be so fortunate to actually get paid to do what he loved most even if it was bloody hard work a lot of the time. My point being, I accept his position here, that his focus was on the day-to-day job -- not on stuff that may have been going on in the background.
posted by philip-random at 11:00 AM on January 23 [16 favorites]


Well, I feel like a fucking idiot. I'd defended him in the past because the suit against him in 2014 was thrown out and his accuser ended up going to jail for a fraud conviction, and, well, I just didn't want to believe it. I feel sorry for anyone and everyone whose work with him will be tainted by association (except for Kevin Spacey, of course).

You shouldn't beat yourself up too bad. Try for just enough that you don't make the same mistake ever again. I was in a similar situation for about two years once and was completely stunned when I learned the details and all kinds of weird behavioural quirks suddenly became explicable and I was just one of many similarly duped people. Some are still duped to this day almost twenty-five years later.
posted by srboisvert at 11:01 AM on January 23 [7 favorites]


I accept his position here, that his focus was on the day-to-day job -- not on stuff that may have been going on in the background.

I fully get that this is his position and this is his focus. I guess the question that many people ask is whether or not he's engaging in complicity of this kind of abuse/culture when you work with and support a director/industry/workplace that knows about this kind of abuse and predation. It's whether or not you can truly separate art from the artist.
posted by Fizz at 11:02 AM on January 23 [5 favorites]


David Lisak, the clinical psychologist, says he sees dozens of sexual-abuse cases thrown out every year because the plaintiff “misremembers some sequence of events or a detail that’s really inconsequential, and the credibility of their entire story is spoiled.” Exploiting the symptoms that flow from trauma in order to undermine a victim’s credibility—whether substance abuse, a subsequent criminal offense, or holes in a victim’s memory—has become a common defense and PR strategy. “There is something uniquely diabolical about this cycle,” Lisak says.

These guys get away with this with dozens of children over the courses of decades, and then when the reckoning comes down they literally start offering up six-figure settlements in exchange for NDAs. And when that doesn't work they give their lawyers the six-figures to tear apart the victims' stories based on their inaccurate recollection of minute details that of course would be the first thing they would fail to remember based on their trauma, let alone the drugs and alcohol they were being plied with at the time.

This is just super fucking evil all the way down and there's such a deluge of evidence against these guys and thanks to statutes of limitations they in most cases live scott free. Which means they're probably still raping kids, just doing it much more carefully now.

We should be ashamed of ourselves as a society.
posted by allkindsoftime at 11:04 AM on January 23 [66 favorites]


Assumptions about biological gender and adolescent male (broadly defined) hypersexuality are a big reason why male survivors above a certain age are not considered credible. That's slowly changing, but I guess I need to check out from the social media for a few days given commentary that Rapp and Bennett should consider themselves lucky.
posted by GenderNullPointerException at 11:49 AM on January 23 [4 favorites]


Singer's insistence that he left the Bohemian Rhapsody set to deal with an ailing parent is...
odd. There were panicked reports in the industry media around the time that he'd simply stopped showing up with no explanation given. It's not like he no-showed on a barback shift at Chili's on a random Saturday. He walked off the set of a huge studio film without telling anyone why or where he was going and then left them hanging as the entire industry gawked on.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:50 AM on January 23 [4 favorites]


If Rami Malek is complicit for his work on Bohemian Rhapsody with Singer, I kinda dread thinking about Ian McKellan, who's worked in at least 4 movies with Singer as recently as 2014, including the cursed Apt Pupil shoot mentioned in the Atlantic article. Though allegedly McKellan didn't go to Singer's parties.
posted by nicebookrack at 11:55 AM on January 23 [7 favorites]


Singer's insistence that he left the Bohemian Rhapsody set to deal with an ailing parent is...
odd. There were panicked reports in the industry media around the time that he'd simply stopped showing up with no explanation given.


And it was around the same time the above-mentioned Esquire article was about to break.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 12:00 PM on January 23


Statement from reporters Maximillian Potter and Alex French on investigation of Bryan Singer:
We have been asked why a story reported and written by two Esquire writers is being published in The Atlantic. This story began with our editors at Esquire. After months of reporting, this story went through Esquire's editorial process, which included fact-checking and vetting by a Hearst attorney, and the story was approved for publication. The story was then killed by Hearst executives. We do not know why. We feel fortunate that The Atlantic decided to work with us, and we are grateful that the piece has gone through The Atlantic's thoughtful editorial process, which included another rigorous fact-check and robust legal vetting. We are most grateful that the alleged victims now have a chance to be heard and we hope the substance of their allegations remains the focus.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:12 PM on January 23 [48 favorites]


As a side note, it has stuck with me since 1998 how creepy the sexual energy in just the Apt Pupil trailer was. I mean that I, not necessarily the most sensitive reader of such things at the time, felt really uncomfortable in the way the camera was looking at Brad Renfro, and I remember that to this day. Surely others must have seen it.
posted by praemunire at 12:15 PM on January 23 [4 favorites]


fuck.

I just can't even process this right now cause personal reasons but holy shit I feel so much for the victims right now.
posted by nikaspark at 12:18 PM on January 23 [2 favorites]


The story was then killed by Hearst executives.

It's time to make popcorn because this murder mystery is going to be a very interesting plot unwind.
posted by chavenet at 12:36 PM on January 23 [11 favorites]


Typical. Rapp's story was also killed multiple times when Spacey's agency threatened to blackball the publishing periodical.
posted by GenderNullPointerException at 12:43 PM on January 23 [12 favorites]


Also Ronan Farrow's story on Weinstein was killed by NBC before The New Yorker ran it.
posted by octothorpe at 1:07 PM on January 23 [14 favorites]




Paul F. Tompkins, twitter: "A fun thing I recently heard is that a bunch of disgraced #MeToo Hollywood types have formed a fraternity that they actually call a fraternity & have been taking a long time to listen to the works of Jordan B Peterson."
posted by rewil at 1:27 PM on January 23 [24 favorites]


I'm with you nicebookrack wondering about Ian McKellan. I love his acting I love his role as one of the first big gay actors to come out. He's also remarkably personable and direct; his website has been a remarkable example of direct communication, blogging, etc for over 20 years.

Apt Pupil is a seriously creepy film, and McKellen's role with Renfro is seriously creepy. I'm OK with that as a work of art. But Renfro was only 16 when he made that movie and that puts it a into Jodie-Foster-in-Taxi-Driver territory. And poor Renfro's life was a wreck and his early death so tragic.
posted by Nelson at 1:30 PM on January 23 [2 favorites]


My point being, I accept his position here, that his focus was on the day-to-day job -- not on stuff that may have been going on in the background.

I'm sure he's nice in general and laser-focused in the day-to-day, but I am about the same age as him and I have known that about Bryan Singer for a good ten or twenty years. my only involvement or contact with the industry is I read several issues of Entertainment Weekly in high school.

I believe anybody over 25 who says they never knew this, just as long as what they're saying is they don't read any entertainment reporting of any kind or that they never heard of Bryan Singer at all. both are possible.
posted by queenofbithynia at 1:33 PM on January 23 [11 favorites]


Paul F. Tompkins, twitter: "A fun thing I recently heard is that a bunch of disgraced #MeToo Hollywood types have formed a fraternity that they actually call a fraternity & have been taking a long time to listen to the works of Jordan B Peterson."

Mark my words - that ignorant asshole Peterson will end up living on allkindsoftime's list.
posted by lazaruslong at 1:36 PM on January 23 [8 favorites]


I believe anybody over 25 who says they never knew this, just as long as what they're saying is they don't read any entertainment reporting of any kind or that they never heard of Bryan Singer at all.

I don't know. We are very, very swayed by what the "group" deems okay. If the powers-that-be have hired the guy then they have vouched for him. If he managed not to go to jail, then he has, in another way, been vouched for. If influential stars continue to work with him, he is vouched for. It makes you doubt your own instincts when someone like this comes up and you look around and everyone is sort of eyes-on-the-horizon and allow this guy to be in the space, helm the job, get paid, get promoted. We look to the culture to define what is right and wrong and these guys, when given a bye tell the culture that they are okay by that culture's standards.

Rami is an actor who wants to work. If the culture says this guy is okay to be in the position he is in then all you have to do is not say no. It may not be 100% honest truth what he is saying about his knowledge of Singer but I don't see why he should get called to atest to this man's fitness (which he does seem to avoid fairly adeptly).
posted by amanda at 1:50 PM on January 23 [9 favorites]


[A few comments deleted. I know the intentions are good but making huge lists of other people that have been sexual abusers of some kind or other really invites a series of acrimonious debates that are beside the point of this thread, which is about Singer.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 1:59 PM on January 23 [9 favorites]


Fair enough, but you can still count on me to point out every time this comes up on Metafilter that none of these monsters are one-offs, they're part of a self-protecting/perpetuating elite culture and it is vast. And if we don't understand that, we're turning a blind eye to an entire aspect of our culture.
posted by allkindsoftime at 2:04 PM on January 23 [6 favorites]


While discussing sexual abuse here, I think it's worth focusing our attention in this thread on male sexual predators who focus on men and boys as targets for abuse, as well as the male survivors who are coming forward with their stories.
posted by nicebookrack at 2:20 PM on January 23 [24 favorites]


Stories like these allegations against Singer and those against Kevin Spacey describe some particularly insidious evil shit for how the abusers weaponize both homophobia and gay culture to attract vulnerable victims and silence them. It's heartbreaking to read about the young closeted gay kid who went to gay parties looking to find a community and his first boyfriend, only to be sexually assaulted by a predator like Singer who was specifically seeking out vulnerable young boys who'd be too scared and ashamed to seek help. And Kevin Spacey weaponized the closet to cover up his abuses—as long as he played coy about his sexuality in public and used legal/PR pressure to suppress news stories about his sexuality, any rumors that DID get out were assumed to be simply more gossip exaggerated for homophobic salaciousness that "Ha, ha, Kevin Spacey is GAY!" instead of the more serious truth of "Kevin Spacey is a sexual predator."
posted by nicebookrack at 2:56 PM on January 23 [33 favorites]


FYI, Vox keeps a regularly updated list of prominent people accused of sexual misconduct.
posted by kemrocken at 3:32 PM on January 23 [8 favorites]


Yeah, thank you for the re-rail. When stuff like this hits, I feel under attack all over again. Most of the nastiness these guys face are things I've been personally told to rationalize or minimize my own sexual assault. (30th anniversary this year! Do survivors get medallions, or maybe pearls?) So please let survivors who are not women have just a little bit of space.
posted by GenderNullPointerException at 4:10 PM on January 23 [10 favorites]


Amy Berg’s documentary came out in 2014.
posted by Ideefixe at 7:43 PM on January 23 [3 favorites]


I have a lot of feelings about this, because Singer was one of the biggest directors for my generation. Yet the most striking thing to me about that main article was how sympathetic it was to the victims. I have become so accustomed to reading stories like this whose only focus on them is to briefly tell their story and then interrogate their motives in coming forward, or the timing of their accusation... This one felt very different in that it skipped that tiresome ritual scrutiny, and even described how being violated had affected the rest of their lives! I wish all reporting was so kind.
posted by heatvision at 3:08 AM on January 24 [10 favorites]


This one felt very different in that it skipped that tiresome ritual scrutiny, and even described how being violated had affected the rest of their lives

Agreed, it seemed really unique. It also did an excellent job of showing how neat the con is: sexually abusing and gaslighting minors can really fuck them up, and then when they are ready to come forward and face their abusers, their abusers and all of their lackeys say "oh, look how fucked up this person is! You can't take anything they say seriously, look at what a wreck their life is!"

The accusers in this piece who were willing to be named were UNBELIEVABLY brave, and the ones who didn't get there were still hugely brave. To know that the machinery of destruction will be aimed at you and your life? Unreal.

I believe anybody over 25 who says they never knew this, just as long as what they're saying is they don't read any entertainment reporting of any kind or that they never heard of Bryan Singer at all.

Yeah, I'm just a girl from the suburbs who liked nerdy movies, but I knew about his reputation and the sex parties since at least 2003, when X2 came out. People wanted to know why the part of Pyro was recast in the sequel, and the reason was that the man who had played him in the first movie was "one of Singer's boys" who had been offered the part after a "hot tub session" and experienced serial sexual assault from powerful men as part of the DEN culture. He was part of one of the earlier lawsuits against Singer and his accomplices in 2000. Singer and his gang settled to the tune of $3 million.

I remember watching the accusations get memory-holed and being baffled by it, and by Singer's continued success.
posted by a fiendish thingy at 5:04 AM on January 24 [11 favorites]


I remember DEN being featured on a breathless tv news piece from the dot-com era that didn’t seem to have much more substance than “look at this teenage millionaire in his cobalt-blue Lamborghini!” I had no idea it had this sort of backstory.
posted by dr_dank at 8:04 AM on January 24


DEN is also connected to both World of Warcraft and cryptocurrencies via Brock Pierce. He started at DEN at age 17 (!) and then helped the company branch out into Warcraft in-game-currency fraud via his company Internet Gaming entertainment. (Special guest appearance by Steve Bannon. Yes, that one.) He also founded ZAM, a company that still owns a lot of popular gaming websites. A few years later he got into the Bitcoin scam, was even elected to the board of the bitcoin Foundation. It apparently worked out pretty well for him.

The sleaze runs deep, is what I'm trying to say. I don't know if there are any recent allegations of sexual abuse against him, but there certainly were back in early 2000s when he fled the country to avoid prosecution.
posted by Nelson at 8:45 AM on January 24 [3 favorites]


Brock Pierce also shows up in this recent FPP.
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:32 AM on January 24


Bohemian Rhapsody Loses GLAAD Award Nomination Over Bryan Singer Accusations
"In light of the latest allegations against director Bryan Singer, GLAAD has made the difficult decision to remove ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ from contention for a GLAAD Media Award in the Outstanding Film – Wide Release category this year. This week’s story in The Atlantic documenting unspeakable harms endured by young men and teenage boys brought to light a reality that cannot be ignored or even tacitly rewarded."

Good. I'm sure there are better movies more deserving of GLAAD acknowledgement this year anyway.
posted by nicebookrack at 3:56 PM on January 24 [7 favorites]




Bryan Singer to Keep 'Red Sonja' Directing Gig Even After New Accusers Speak Out

Fucking WHY. What POSSIBLE fucking thought process could someone go through where “serial sexual predator” is not a fucking deal breaker for continued employment? Is there such a shortage of directors in motherfucking Hollywood? Is Bryan Singer the exceptionally poorly chosen chosen one, and he’s the only thing keeping the Hollywood Hellmouth closed? Was his soul paired with a murderous fucking kaiju that slumbers off the coast of California and we have to keep him employed lest we wake it?

WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK, NUKE THEM ALL FROM ORBIT
posted by schadenfrau at 6:55 PM on January 24 [4 favorites]


What POSSIBLE fucking thought process could someone go through where “serial sexual predator” is not a fucking deal breaker for continued employment?

In this case it's because the producer of Red Sonja has come out and said that he literally does not believe the accusations:

“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.” - producer Avi Lerner

It's disgusting.
posted by primalux at 9:36 PM on January 24 [5 favorites]


That io9 link sure is a revelation:
It’s worth noting that Lerner runs a company called Millennium Films, a company that has also been hit with allegations of sexual harassment—allegations that Lerner denies. Actor Terry Crews also alleged last year that Lerner, producer on the Expendables franchise, called Crews’ manager to ask him to drop his case against talent agency William Morris in regards to a lawsuit against it, and its employee Adam Venit, following sexual assault allegations against Venit. Crews, speaking to the Guardian, said Lerner told his manager he “could avoid problems on the set of the next Expendables sequel,” if he dropped the suit. The agency eventually reached a settlement with Crews after an investigation “found that Venit’s behavior was an isolated event.”
It's scumbags all the way down.
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:55 PM on January 24 [9 favorites]


Avi Lerner is apparently a scumbag in his own right; birds of a sexually harassing feather flock and can rot in hell together.

Dynamite Comics has done interesting stuff with the flagship Red Sonja comic in recent years by handing control of an infamously cheesecake character to a series of talented female writers—Gail Simone, Amy Chu, Marguerite Bennett, etc. A new Red Sonja movie could've been an outstanding and high-profile opportunity to put a female director in charge of a female-led comic book movie. Instead the movie will be handed over as a present from sexual abusers to another sexual abuser. Gross gross gross.
posted by nicebookrack at 10:06 PM on January 24 [10 favorites]


Ugh. I wanted to include something in my comment that the way Lerner spoke completely sounded like an abuser protecting another abuser, but I didn't want to derail with my speculation. Guess that intuition was correct.
posted by primalux at 10:21 PM on January 24 [3 favorites]


[Hard pass on comments justifying the sexual abuse of minors by saying the minors were interested in it.]
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 3:39 PM on January 25 [12 favorites]


'Secrets will eat you up' – inside the shocking Michael Jackson documentary
It only takes about two minutes into the four-hour documentary Leaving Neverland to realise that Michael Jackson’s legacy is never going to be the same again. After a brief introduction, praising him for his indisputable talent, one of his accusers looks into the camera and lists the ways in which the singer helped him. He then states: “And he sexually abused me for seven years.” [...]
I think most people knew something was up, but it sounds as if there was basically an industry designed to allow Jackson to rape kids. And the kids (now adults) reporting Jackson's abuse have received death threats. Of course.
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:55 AM on January 26 [3 favorites]




Columbia Journalism Review on how The Atlantic ended up running the story, instead of Esquire. Esquire doesn't come off looking very good.
posted by suelac at 4:31 PM on February 22 [3 favorites]


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