Outcry erupted earlier this month when director Bryan Singer’s latest project, Bohemian Rhapsody, won Best Dramatic Film at the 2019 Golden Globes. At that point, Singer had been publicly accused of sexual assault by two men. (One case, brought forth by Michael Egan in 2014, was later withdrawn.) Allegations of predatory behavior had also followed the director for years. Now, four more men have come forward alleging that Singer sexually assaulted them when they were teenagers.
The Atlantic spoke to over 50 people, including the four men who allege Singer preyed on them as minors. Three of the victims spoke under pseudonyms; none of them had come forward with their allegations previously. Through a lawyer, Singer denied the allegations. The lawyer also noted that Singer has never been arrested or charged with a crime.
Three of the allegations, by victims given the names “Andy,” “Ben,” and “Eric,” also indict a culture in which people in collaboration to “bring boys” to Singer and his friends. Andy told The Atlantic that Singer had sexually abused him at a party at a mansion owned by Digital Entertainment Network. The company and the house were owned by Marc Collins-Rector, whom Andy alleges groomed him online beginning when he was 14. (Collins-Rector pleaded guilty to nine charges of transporting a minor across state lines for sex in 2004.) Andy says he was introduced to Singer when he was 15; he alleges that the actor Brad Renfro was in the room at first, but left before anything sexual happened. Renfro had starred in Singer’s Apt Pupil, and was also 15 at the time; he died of an overdose in 2008.
Ben and Eric also allege being targeted at parties, and say that Singer used alcohol and drugs to achieve his goals. They also say those parties were filled with young people. “If you weren’t young and cute enough to be their boy, you could still ingratiate yourself by bringing boys to them,” Eric says of Singer and his friends. “That’s how I met Bryan, and that’s how I wound up at the DEN estate — people trying to ingratiate themselves.” Eric says he was 17 when Singer first sexually abused him. Ben remembers being either 17 or 18, and claims that Singer “would stick his hands down your pants without your consent.”
Victor Valdovinos, the only one of the four to use his real name and consent to be photographed, says he was a student at the Altadena, California, middle school where Singer had shot scenes for Apt Pupil, and alleges that Singer molested him in a secluded area on the movie’s set when he was 13. Valdovinos was never listed as an extra for the film, and does not appear in the final scene that was being shot that day. “It was embarrassing. I didn’t want anyone to know. So I locked it away,” he says now of why he didn’t press charges at the time. That same scene would later become the subject of a series of lawsuits by minors who alleged that they had been pressured to appear nude; no charges were ever formally pressed, and the suits were settled under confidentiality agreements.
The Atlantic also spoke with Bret Tyler Skopek, who met Singer when he was 18 and claims the director took a liking to him particularly because he looked young. The relationship lasted about six months; in 2017, Skopec told Deadline Hollywood about his encounters with Singer. He also remembered Singer talking to him about the case brought against him by Egan, before it was withdrawn.
Cesar Sanchez-Guzman, who filed a lawsuit against Singer in 2017, told The Atlantic, “The industry will brush things under the rug and pretend nothing happened. Most people don’t see the truth.” He says Singer sexually assaulted him in 2003, when Sanchez-Guzman was 17 years old; the case cannot proceed until a prior and unrelated bankruptcy case Sanchez-Guzman filed is settled. He’s had to reopen the bankruptcy case once; Singer’s lawyers claimed that he did not list the suit against their client as an asset when he first filed.
In response, Singer issued a statement condemning The Atlantic’s story, which he called a “piece of vendetta journalism” by a writer he accuses of homophobia. He also notes that the story had been killed by Esquire before it was was published on The Atlantic. The statement does not, as one person noted, refute the allegations made in the article, but focuses on the “claims from bogus lawsuits filed by a disreputable cast of individuals willing to lie for money or attention.” Only two of the six men who have accused Singer of abuse ever took their claims to court.
This report has been updated.