Singer, who directed the “X-Men” franchise, “The Usual Suspects” and “Bohemian Rhapsody” has in the past been accused of abusing or raping teenage boys, and creating toxic work environments on his movie sets.
Victor Valdovinos told The Atlantic that Singer molested him while he was an extra on Singer’s movie “Apt Pupil” in 1997. Valdovinos, who was 13 years old at the time, said Singer “grabbed my genitals and started masturbating it” and “rubbed his front part on me,” while telling 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.”
Three other men who used pseudonyms in The Atlantic article for fear of retaliation said Singer preyed on them at parties when they were teenagers and molested or raped them.
“He was predatory in that he would ply people with alcohol and drugs and then have sex with them,” one accuser said.
Singer has previously been accused of sexual misconduct involving teenage boys. Days after he was fired from his most recent movie, the Freddie Mercury biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody,” in December 2017, a Seattle man named Cesar Sanchez-Guzman sued Singer, accusing the director of raping him on a yacht in 2003, when he was 17.
In October, Singer tried to get ahead of the magazine article, then slated to run in Esquire magazine. He revealed the upcoming article in an Instagram post, calling it “a reckless disregard for the truth, making assumptions that are fictional and irresponsible,” and suggesting it aimed to damage “Bohemian Rhapsody.”
An Esquire spokeswoman didn’t respond to multiple inquiries from HuffPost about why the magazine didn’t publish the story.
Singer on Wednesday called The Atlantic article a “homophobic smear piece,” but, notably, did not deny the allegations.
“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,” Singer said in a statement. “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.
The reporters, Maximillian Potter and Alex French, said in a statement that executives at Esquire’s parent company, Hearst, shelved the story without giving them a reason.
“After months of reporting, the 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,” they said in a statement, adding that “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.”
The Atlantic said the 12-month investigation involved more than 50 sources. The article reported that Singer was protected “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 behavior they’d witnessed.”
Singer’s lawyer has denied that the director ever had sex with minors.
The years of allegations against Singer have cast a shadow over “Bohemian Rhapsody,” which — despite polarizing reviews — has become a major box-office hit and awards contender. On Tuesday, the film earned five Oscar nominations, including Best Picture and Best Actor for star Rami Malek.
Singer remains the film’s credited director, even though he was fired after allegations of verbally abusing cast and crew members, and clashing with Malek.
“Bohemian Rhapsody” cast and crew have attempted to distance themselves from Singer in promoting the movie, not mentioning him in public appearances or awards speeches, and sidestepping reporters’ questions.
Despite the allegations, Singer is slated to direct a new movie, “Red Sonja,” this year.
“The industry will brush things under the rug and pretend nothing happened,” Sanchez-Guzman told The Atlantic. “Most people don’t see the truth.”
By Marina Fang