Bryan Singer (Getty/Daniel Leal)

The rape allegation against Bryan Singer brings decades of whispers to a head

The sordid history of the "X-Men" director resurfaces after an alleged victim files a lawsuit


Jarrett Lyons
December 8, 2017 6:48PM (UTC)

Director and Producer Bryan Singer is the latest of Hollywood elite to be accused of sexual misconduct. On Thursday, a lawsuit was filed in Seattle against Singer accusing him of raping a 17 year-old male on a yacht in 2003.

Cesar Sanchez-Guzman alleges that Singer forced the then 17 year-old to have oral sex with the director, before Singer penetrated him anally. The lawsuit states that Singer met Sanchez-Guzman at a party on a yacht owned by tech investor Lester Waters.

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According to the suit, Singer gave Sanchez-Guzman a tour of the yacht before “Singer lured Cesar into a room, shut the door and demanded that Cesar perform oral sex. When Plaintiff refused, Bryan Singer forced him into acts of oral and anal sex.”

The lawsuit claims Sanchez-Guzman did not know who Singer was at the time, but later in the evening, Singer promised that he could help Sanchez-Guzman launch an acting career if he would stay silent about the incident.

“He then told Cesar no one would believe him if he ever reported the incident, and that he could hire people who are capable of ruining someone’s reputation,” the lawsuit states.

Singer responded to the lawsuit, denying the accusations. His statement references a 2014 lawsuit for similar reasons by Michael Egan, who accused Singer of drugging and raping him after they met at a Hollywood party.

It was one of many the many parties allegedly attended by Singer thrown by convicted sex offender Marc Collins-Rector. After evidence suggested the claims were false, Egan withdrew his lawsuit. Egan later pled guilty to investment fraud, a plea used as ammunition in Singer’s statement.

Yet, Egan was not the only person to accuse Singer of sexual misconduct in the past. Also in 2014, Singer was accused of another sexual assault by an anonymous British minor. That lawsuit was also withdrawn.

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The earliest allegations against Singer date back to a 1998 lawsuit alleging that Singer forced young extras to strip naked for a shower sequence in his film “Apt Pupil.” That case was also dismissed.

 

Singer’s behavior again under question in the 2014 documentary, “An Open Secret.” Featuring Egan and focusing on Collins-Rector, the film references Singer, without speaking directly about any detailed accounts.

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After a limited release, the producers of "An Open Secret" sought commercial distribution, only to find no takers. "We got zero Hollywood offers to distribute the film. Not even one. Literally no offers for any price whatsoever," said financier Gabe Hoffman earlier this year. After the Harvey Weinstein saga began, the filmmakers released the documentary on Vimeo.

Even before Thursday's filing, there were signs that all was not well for Singer. Three days prior to the suit, he was fired as director of “Bohemian Rhapsody,” the Freddy Mercury biopic. Reportedly, he was frequently absent from set and stopped showing up all together after Thanksgiving. The production had to shut down while he was away. Singer claimed he was caring for a sick parent only after he was fired.

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On Monday, Singer’s long-time publicist, Simon Halls, told the Washington Post that he was no longer representing him without explanation.

It all brings to a head a long-brewing campaign of whispers and suspicions. Many in media at many levels assumed that, at some point, Singer would be swept up in the tide of allegations against powerful men in the entertainment industry, that the past suits and accusations would resurface. They just didn't know when or from what angle. Many in the in gay community have also spoken quietly or openly about Singer in similar ways.

Indeed, Singer himself had already become part of the conversation thanks to his own statements. When asked by TMZ on Friday whether or not he’d ever work with past collaborator Kevin Spacey again after this year’s revelations surfaced about the actors assault of actor Anthony Rapp, Singer said it would depend on the project. Singer worked with Spacey on "Superman Returns" and "The Usual Suspects," the film that won the actor an Oscar and the director improved standing in Hollywood.

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Subsequently, “The Usual Suspects” co-star Gabriel Byrne has claimed that production on the film was held up due to Spacey’s sexual misconduct toward a younger actor.

Singer is currently still serving as producer in X-Men related film and television franchises and has been announced as executive producer and director of an upcoming television series, "World War III," and his film "Broadway 4D" is still slated for release in 2018.

The status of these and other projects must now be considered in jeopardy. Much like Spacey, no one is rushing to Singer's defense after years of whispers. It's not too hard to imagine that his treatment following Thursday's news will mirror that given to the actor as well.


Jarrett Lyons

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