A day after the Bryan Singer-directed Queen biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody” earned four Oscar nominations, four new accusers came forward with allegations of sexual misconduct in a newly published article in The Atlantic.
On Wednesday, the magazine published the results of a year-long investigation into allegations against Singer, the product of interviews with more than 50 sources, including four accusers whose stories have not been told publicly until now. Two said Singer knew they were underage when he had sex with them but asked that their names not be published, citing fear of retaliation and privacy concerns.
In a statement provided to USA TODAY by one of his attorneys, Andrew Brettler, Singer said the article was “written by a homophobic journalist who has a bizarre obsession with me dating back to 1997.
“After careful fact-checking and, in consideration of the lack of credible sources, Esquire chose not to publish this piece of vendetta journalism. That didn’t stop this writer from selling it to The Atlantic.”
He added, “It’s sad that The Atlantic would stoop to this low standard of journalistic integrity. 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. And it is no surprise that, with ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ being an award-winning hit, this homophobic smear piece has been conveniently timed to take advantage of its success.”
In a Twitter statement released by The Atlantic, reporters Maximillian Potter and Alex French said that the Singer story had been cleared for publication by an attorney for Hearst, Esquire’s parent company, but then later killed by executives. They added that before it ran in The Atlantic, the piece underwent “another rigorous fact-check and robust legal vetting.”
The article includes detailed accusations from several accusers. One story comes from Victor Valdovinos, who said he met Singer in a restroom as a 13-year-old when his school was used as a location in the director’s second major film, 1998’s “Apt Pupil.”
He said the director later molested him in the school’s locker room, which was being used for a shower-room scene in the movie.
“He came back to where I was in the locker room throughout the day to molest me,” said Valdovinos, who said the encounter left him “frozen.”
Singer’s attorney, in a statement to The Atlantic, denied Singer knew Valdovinos and said no such encounter occurred.
Another accuser, who asked that his real name not be used, said he was 17 or 18 when he made out and had oral sex with Singer during a party at the director’s home, whose address and layout he could still remember.
“He was predatory in that he would ply people with alcohol and drugs and then have sex with them,” the man, identified in the story as Ben, recalled. “It wasn’t a hold-you-down-and-rape-you situation.”
A third man, who was called Andy in the Atlantic story, said he was 15 when he first had sex with Singer, who would have been around 31, at a party at the home of two friends, Marc Collins-Rector and Chad Shackley.
Andy said after that fell on hard times, prostituting himself and developing a meth addiction, leading to his expulsion from school and jail time. He told the magazine that Singer gave him money a few times but eventually stopped taking his calls.
Now 36 and clean, Andy wonders “if I’d never met Marc and then Bryan, if I would have ever got into the drugs.”
A fourth accuser, identified as Eric, said he met Singer at a party thrown by the director at his home.
While flirting in the hot tub, Singer, reportedly told Eric he was 31. “Just so you know, I’m 17,” Eric says he responded before the two had sex. He said they continued to do so occasionally until Eric was in his 20s.
“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,’ ” he explained. “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.”
Eric says that he’s since met other alleged victims of Singer through Alcoholics Anonymous.
“There’s a bunch of us,” he told the magazine. “It’s like, ‘You were one of Singer’s boys? Me too.’ ”