Coming on the heels of new allegations of sexual assault, Millennium Films confirmed the Bohemian Rhapsody director is still attached to helm the upcoming Red Sonja film. The Atlantic has published a report in which four men, who hadn’t come forward until now, have accused Bryan Singer of sexual assault. The alleged assaults took place in the late 90s, when each of the victims were underage.
One of the four men, Victor Valdovinos alleges that when he was 13, working as an extra on Singer’s 1998 film Apt Pupil, Singer molested him multiple times. For fear of potential backlash, the other three men who came forward don’t use their real names but are instead referred to under pseudonyms. One man, called Andy in the report, says he was 15 when he had sex with the director. Another man, referred to as Eric, says that he was 17 when he and Singer had sex. The third man, referred to as Ben, alleges that Singer coerced him into performing oral sex when he was 17 or 18. At the time of each of the assaults, Singer would have been in his early 30s. The Atlantic report goes into more detail, with each of the four victims telling their story. The report is very upsetting, but these men have courageously come forward to tell their stories and I believe it’s necessary to read their harrowing experiences.
Despite these allegations, Singer is still slated to direct Red Sonja, and with Millennium’s full support. Avi Lerner, the producer of the film and founder of Millennium Films, gave his reason for keeping Singer on as director to The Hollywood Reporter, stating, “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. 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 otherwise.” Lerner’s defense of Singer comes as no surprise since Lerner himself is mired with sexual harassment allegations. Bohemian Rhapsody’s box-office success could hardly be attributed to Singer considering his most notable contribution to the film is being fired from it.
Red Sonja centers around a woman who has suffered sexual abuse. To have someone with so many allegations against him directing this film is a deeply irresponsible and troubling decision. Not only does it create a potentially unsafe work environment for those on the set, it also allows Singer to continue working without consequence. The writers of the Atlantic report, Alex French and Maximillian Potter, spent 12 months studying lawsuits and allegations against Singer dating back to 1997. They spoke with over 50 sources, including the four men who just came forward, and their report was fact checked. There are several actors, directors, producers, and executives in Hollywood who said goodbye to their careers over less damning accusations, yet Singer continues to work and stands to make millions from this film.
Accusations of sexual assault are not made lightly. It takes a great deal of courage to come forward, especially against someone like Singer, who holds a lot of power and influence in Hollywood. The very least we can do is listen to those who come forward. Their stories should not be swept under the rug or ignored.