A lawsuit filed Thursday claims director Bryan Singer, best known for The Usual Suspects and the X-Men movies, demanded sex from 17-year-old Cesar Sanchez-Guzman in 2003. When Sanchez-Guzman refused, Singer allegedly forced him onto a bed and raped him. From the NY Times:
In the lawsuit, Cesar Sanchez-Guzman said he met Mr. Singer for the first time at the 2003 party, which took place on a yacht in Seattle, when he offered to give him a tour of the boat. While showing him the master bedroom, according to the lawsuit, Mr. Singer shut the door behind them and demanded sex from Mr. Sanchez-Guzman.
After he refused, the lawsuit says, Mr. Singer pushed him on the bed and sexually assaulted him.
“Later, Bryan Singer approached Cesar and told him that he was a producer in Hollywood and that he could help Cesar get into acting as long as Cesar never said anything about the incident,” according to the lawsuit, which was filed on Thursday in a court in King County, Wash. “He then told Cesar that 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.”
Singer’s attorney is denying the claims outright. From the Associated Press:
“Cesar Sanchez-Guzman apparently claims that he did not remember this alleged incident from 2003 until now,” the statement said. “Significantly, when Sanchez-Guzman filed for bankruptcy only a few years ago, he failed to disclose this alleged claim when he was supposed to identify all of his assets, but conveniently, now that the bankruptcy court discharged all of his debts, he is able to recall the alleged events.”
The statement also took issue with one of the accuser’s lawyers, Jeffrey Herman, who filed a sex abuse lawsuit against Singer and other Hollywood executives in 2014 on behalf of former child actor and model Michael Egan. Within months, Egan’s case was dismissed, and Herman eventually paid a settlement and apologized to two of the executives, saying, “I believe that I participated in making what I now know to be untrue and provably false allegations against you.”
Michael Pfau, the attorney who filed the current lawsuit, was not involved in that previous case, however, he admits he took Sanchez-Guzman’s case after a referral from Jeffrey Herman. So consider that for whatever it’s worth.
Singer has recently been working on Bohemian Rhapsody a biographical film about Freddie Mercury of the band Queen. However last week Singer failed to show up to work for several days, leaving the production in the lurch. Monday, Twentieth Century Fox fired Singer. For his part, Singer released a statement saying he’d been caring for his sick mother. From Deadline:
“With fewer than three weeks to shoot remaining, I asked Fox for some time off so I could return to the U.S. to deal with pressing health matters concerning one of my parents. This was a very taxing experience, which ultimately took a serious toll on my own health. Unfortunately, the studio was unwilling to accommodate me and terminated my services. This was not my decision and it was beyond my control,” Singer said in the statement. “Rumors that my unexpected departure from the film was sparked by a dispute I had with Rami Malek are not true. While, at times, we did have creative differences on set, Rami and I successfully put those differences behind us and continued to work on the film together until just prior to Thanksgiving. I wanted nothing more than to be able to finish this project and help honor the legacy of Freddie Mercury and Queen, but Fox would not permit me to do so because I needed to temporarily put my health, and the health of my loved ones, first.”
I don’t know if Singer has a sick mother or not but a statement from the studio over the weekend described his absence as “unexpected.” In any case, the new allegation against Singer is already having consequences. USC’s film school issued a statement Friday saying it would remove Singer’s name from the school (at his request) until such time as the allegations had been resolved. From Variety:
“Bryan Singer has requested that the USC School of Cinematic Arts suspend the use of his name on the Division of Cinema & Media Studies until the allegations against him are resolved,” reads the statement. “The School means a great deal to Bryan, and while he intends to defend himself vigorously against these claims, he does not want the pending litigation to have any negative impact on his alma mater.”…
Last month, USC students started a petition to remove Singer’s name from the film school over previous allegations. It has accrued more than 4,000 signatures since it was launched on Nov. 7.
I don’t have any inside knowledge about what is going on here but I do wonder if Singer’s absence has to do with this lawsuit or a news story which he knows someone is working on about him. As we’ve seen previously, sometimes it takes one accuser coming forward for the dam to finally break.