Bohemian Rhapsody is stripped of its GLAAD Media Awards best film nomination after new underage sexual assault claims are made against director Bryan Singer – as it’s revealed he will still get $10m to direct his next film
- GLAAD Media Awards said Thursday it was removing Bohemian Rhapsody from its list of nominees for outstanding film
- The decision comes after new allegations of sexual assault were made against director Bryan Singer
- The Atlantic published an expose Wednesday detailing allegations from four men who claim they were raped or molested by Singer when they were underage
- Singer has denied the claims, calling the article a ‘homophobic smear piece’ that was timed to take advantage of Bohemian Rhapsody’s success
- Meanwhile, Singer is still set to be paid $10 million to direct the upcoming film ‘Red Sonja’, whose title character is a survivor of sexual abuse
- The founder of Millennium Films said they were staunchly supporting the director in the wake of the allegations
Bohemian Rhapsody has lost its best original film nomination for the GLAAD Media Awards after new allegations of sexual assault were made against director Bryan Singer.
GLAAD, the media watchdog group, announced on Thursday that it was removing the Freddie Mercury biopic from its list of nominees for Outstanding Film in the wake of the claims.
The decision comes after The Atlantic published an expose a day earlier detailing allegations from four men who claim they were raped or molested by Singer when they were underage.
Three of the men spoke on the condition of anonymity, while Victor Valdovinos alleged that he was molested by Singer on the set of 1998’s ‘Apt Pupil’ when he was in the seventh grade.
Singer has denied the claims, calling the article a ‘homophobic smear piece’ that was ‘conveniently timed’ to take advantage of the success of Bohemian Rhapsody.
‘It’s sad that The Atlantic would stoop to this low standard of journalistic integrity,’ Singer said. ‘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.’
Bohemian Rhapsody has lost its best original film nomination for the GLAAD Media Awards after new allegations of sexual assault were made against director Bryan Singer (pictured)
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office earlier investigated claims that male minors were pressured into stripping naked for a shower scene in ‘Apt Pupil’ but declined to press charges. Lawsuits filed by families of the minors involved were settled out of court.
Cesar Sanchez-Guzman has also filed a lawsuit in Seattle against Singer alleging the director raped him in 2003 when Sanchez-Guzman was 17.
Singer’s attorney Andrew Brettler at the time said Singer ‘categorically denies these allegations and will vehemently defend this lawsuit to the very end’. The case is still pending.
GLAAD said it was a difficult decision to remove the film from its awards.
‘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,’ a statement read.
‘Singer’s response to The Atlantic story wrongfully used ‘homophobia’ to deflect from sexual assault allegations and GLAAD urges the media and the industry at large to not gloss over the fact that survivors of sexual assault should be put first. The team that worked so hard on Bohemian Rhapsody as well as the legacy of Freddy Mercury deserve so much more than to be tainted in this way.’
Meanwhile, Singer is still set to be paid $10 million to direct the upcoming film ‘Red Sonja’, whose title character is a survivor of sexual abuse.
Avi Lerner, the founder of Millennium Films, said the film production company was staunchly supporting the director in the wake of the allegations.
‘The over $800 million ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ has grossed, making it the highest grossing drama in film history, is testament to his remarkable vision and acumen,’ Lerner said.
‘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 guilty.’
GLAAD, the media watchdog group, announced on Thursday that it was removing the Freddie Mercury biopic starring Rami Malek (above) from its list of nominees for Outstanding Film in the wake of the claims
Bohemian Rhapsody star Rami Malek claimed he was not aware of the allegations made against Singer (Pictured above: Singer, actor Ben Hardy, Queen drummer Roger Taylor and Malek on the set of the film)
Singer was fired as the director of the 20th Century Fox film during shooting after several absences from the London production and claims that he was clashing with producers.
He remains the sole credited director on the film even though he was replaced by Dexter Fletcher.
Bohemian Rhapsody was nominated for five Oscars, including best picture, on Tuesday before the new allegations surfaced.
Rami Malek, the lead actor, has done his best to avoid commenting on the allegations.
He did, however, admit to the Los Angeles Times that he secured the role of Freddie Mercury a year before Singer came on board.
He said the allegations ‘were, believe it or not, honestly something I was not aware of, and that is what it is’.
The journalists who wrote the expose, Maximillian Potter and Alex French, defended their reporting as rigorously fact-checked.
Potter and French said the story was originally vetted and approved for publication at the Hearst-owned Esquire, but was ‘killed by Hearst executives’ for unknown reasons.
A spokesperson for Hearst didn’t immediately respond to messages Wednesday.
Singer has been aware for months that a story was in the works.
The most recent allegations made by four new men are similar to those shared by a number of men in the past.
The youngest accuser claims that he was just 13 when Singer molested him on a film set, while others recount being plied with drugs and alcohol before allegedly being led to a bedroom by the director.
That youngest victim said that as he watched the Harvey Weinstein scandal unfold, he started to think: ‘Me too – only I was a kid.
Among the men speaking out is Victor Valdovinos, who claims that he was 13 when Singer, then in his 30s, molested him on the set of Apt Pupil.
He claims that Singer first approached him in a bathroom at his school and then asked him to be in the film.
Valdovinos arrived on the set the next day only to be told to strip, put on a towel and then hidden away in a room.
‘I was back here, in the towel, with no shirt and no clothes on, sitting on one of the locker-room benches. Bryan’s like, ‘Just hang out here. It’s going to be all day. Don’t worry’.’
In The Atlantic expose, three of the men spoke on the condition of anonymity, while Victor Valdovinos (above) alleged that he was molested by Singer on the set of 1998’s ‘Apt Pupil’ when he was in the seventh grade
One of the accusers alleged that Singer had a relationship with the late actor Brad Renfro (left in Singer’s 1998 film Apt Pupil and right being arrested for trying to purchase heroin in 2005)
Singer allegedly paid multiple visits to the seventh-grade student throughout the day.
‘Every time he had a chance – three times – he would go back there,’ Valdoinos claimed. ‘He was always touching my chest.’
He said Singer allegedly grabbed his genitals and started masturbating.
Valdoinos said he was ‘frozen speechless’.
Within a few years, Valdoinos had gotten his teenage girlfriend pregnant and went from being an Honor’s student to failing his classes. He dropped out of school, was arrested on battery and drug possession charges, and eventually served time in prison.
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‘What if he never did this to me – would I be a different person? Would I be more successful? Would I be married?’ Valdoinos asked.
Another accuser, who did not want to use his real name, said he met Singer after being kicked out of home when he was 16 because he was gay.
The accuser claimed they made out once when he was 16 and allegedly had oral sex when he was 17 or 18 at one of Singer’s parties.
‘He would stick his hands down your pants without your consent,’ he claimed. ‘He was predatory in that he would ply people with alcohol and drugs and then have sex with them.’
Another accuser, referred to as Andy, said he came to meet Singer at a party when he was 15.
The producers and actors who worked on Bohemian Rhapsody claim that they were unaware of the allegations against Singer (cast and crew are pictured above accepting the Golden Globe for Best Picture)
Singer was with actor Brad Renfro, who passed away in 2008 at the age of 25 from a heroin overdose.
Andy claims the three men went into a room and Singer allegedly raped him.
‘Bryan knew I was 15,’ Andy said.
‘I remember wanting Brad to join in. 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.’
He also claimed that Singer did not try and hide what was happening in the room.
‘I just remember how loud the moaning was. I remember thinking, God, there’s a big group of people downstairs hanging out in the living room, and they can probably hear him,’ Andy said.
‘That bothered me, so I stuck my hand over his mouth or in his mouth just to stop it. When we went downstairs, it was really awkward. I just acted like it was no big thing.’
He claims they had several more encounters before Singer allegedly lost interest in him. Andy said he began to abuse drugs and would sometimes call on Singer for money.
Andy eventually checked into court-ordered rehab and says he has been clean for two years.
Eric, who also asked that his name be withheld, alleged that he was just 17 when he had sex with a then 31-year-old Singer.
He claimed that Singer was surrounded by two types of young men.
They had a sexual relationship for five years, according to Eric, until Singer lost interest in him.
‘I never want people to think of me as a victim, so I always put up the front of ‘I’m good. I was in charge’,’ Eric said. ‘But I spent a decade in therapy trying to figure out if what happened was bad or not bad. And if it was bad, was it my fault? What I’ve decided is that adults are supposed to look out for kids.’
He also said that he is now in Alcoholic’s Anonymous, where he allegedly runs into a number of Singer’s former boys.
‘There’s a bunch of us’ he said. ‘It’s like, ‘You were one of Singer’s boys? Me too’.’
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