A disturbing new feature in The Atlantic has shed more light on accusations of sexual assault lodged against out director Bryan Singer.
The report—published today, January 23, after more than a year of investigating and reporting—includes exclusive interviews with a handful of Singer's accusers, some of whom were underage when they claim the X-Men director-producer exploited them. Reporters Alex French and Maximillian Porter reveal a clear pattern of accusations, painting a portrait of Singer, whose "reputation on the gay Hollywood scene" had caught up with him by the '90s, as "a troubled man who surrounded himself with vulnerable teenage boys."
One purported victim, who The Atlantic refers to as Ben, described the filmmaker as someone who often crossed boundaries: "He would stick his hands down your pants without your consent. He was predatory in that he would ply people with alcohol and drugs and then have sex with them.” But, Ben clarified, "it wasn’t a hold-you-down-and-rape-you situation."
Ben claims he was "seduced" by Singer at one of the director's infamous pool parties, where they had oral sex. He says he was 17 or 18 at the time; he can't remember exactly when it happened. Similar allegations arise time and time again and span decades. Some involve other big names in Hollywood like Marc Collins-Rector, a close friend of Singer who collaborated with him on the Digital Entertainment Network (DEN).
Collins-Rector was later indicted on criminal charges revolving around a gay sex scandal with minors; he and his business partner and boyfriend, Chad Shackley, fled the country and were later arrested by INTERPOL in Spain.
Another accuser, referred to as Eric, says he goes to regular Alcoholics Anonymous meetings in the aftermath of his assault. There, he's met a handful of other California men who have similar stories about Singer: "There’s a bunch of us. It’s like, ‘You were one of Singer’s boys? Me too.’"
This is hardly the first time Singer has been accused of sexual misconduct: In 1997, the high-profile director was sued for exploiting young male extras who'd appeared nude in his film Apt Pupil. That lawsuit was later dismissed, as were two similar lawsuits accusing Singer of assaulting minors. (Both of these cases were addressed in The Atlantic's report, and one of Singer's accusers from the set of Apt Pupil even went on record about how the incident negatively impacted his life trajectory.)
As recently as 2017, alleged victims have continued to come forward, including one Twitter user whose account was promptly deactivated and a man who claims Singer raped him on a yacht in Seattle in 2003. At the time, the accuser was 17; Singer was 37.
In 2017, Singer was also fired from directing Bohemian Rhapsody when he clashed on set with actor Rami Malek, who starred as Freddie Mercury. The Oscar-nominated film went on to become the second-highest grossing music biopic of all time—and the highest grossing queer-themed film in history.