Director Bryan Singer responds to new sexual abuse allegations

The Atlantic details 4 new alleged accounts

By SANDRA GONZALEZ AND CHLOE MELAS, CNN
Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Bryan Singer

(CNN) - Director Bryan Singer has responded to new allegations of sexual assault and misconduct with a statement attacking the people and publication behind the latest report, which was published in The Atlantic on Wednesday.

"The last time I posted about this subject, Esquire magazine was preparing to publish an article written by a homophobic journalist who has a bizarre obsession with me dating back to 1997," Singer said in a statement via a representative. "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. It's sad that The Atlantic would stoop to this low standard of journalistic integrity."

The Atlantic piece, written by Alex French and Maximillian Potter, details four new alleged accounts from men who had not spoken publicly about their experiences and chronicles accusations against Singer that first began emerging in 2014.

Singer did not clarify to which writer he was referring in his statement or explain his claim of homophobia.

In a statement, French and Potter said: "We feel fortunate that The Atlantic decided to work with us, and we are grateful that the piece has gone through The Atlantic's thoughtful editorial process, which included another rigorous fact-check and robust legal vetting. We are most grateful that the alleged victims now have a chance to be heard and we hope the substance of their allegations remains the focus."

French and Potter said their reporting began at Esquire and went through the publication's editorial process, eventually approved for publication but never published.

"We do not know why," they said.

Esquire has not responded to CNN's request for comment.

In their report, which took 12 months and involved more than 50 sources, three new stories are told by men who chose to remain anonymous. Two of the men say they had sex with Singer when they were underage. Another man alleges a sexual encounter with Singer, but the man is unsure of his age at the time.

The age of consent in California is 18.

The Atlantic also spoke to an alleged victim named Victor Valdovinos, who says he was molested on the set of "Apt Pupil" by Singer in 1997, when Valdovinos was 13.

CNN has not independently identified the anonymous victims or been able to verify their claims.

CNN's attempts to reach Valdovinos have been unsuccessful.

Singer, through his attorney, claimed he did not know Valdovinos and denied the accusation, The Atlantic reported.

Singer added in his statement: "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."

The 2014 lawsuit that was the first sexual assault allegation Singer faced was eventually withdrawn by the accuser.

Singer's lawyer, Andrew B. Brettler, told The Atlantic that Singer "has never been arrested for or charged with any crime, and that Singer categorically denies ever having sex with, or a preference for, underage men," according to the publication.

Cesar Sanchez-Guzman, whose claims against Singer were detailed in a lawsuit filed in December 2017, is also quoted in the piece. Sanchez-Guzman claims he was raped by Singer in 2003, when he was 17.

His attorney, Jeff Herman, has not returned CNN's request for comment.

Singer "categorically" denies meeting Sanchez-Guzman and his claims.

A prolific director, Singer is best known for his work on the "X-Men" franchise. His most recent film, "Bohemian Rhapsody," has grossed almost $800 million globally so far, becoming the highest-grossing music biopic of all time.

Earlier this month, the film won the Golden Globe award for best drama, but Singer was absent from the ceremony and has not participated in the publicity whirlwind around the film.

Singer was fired from the film in December 2017, mere weeks from the completion of filming. According to reports, Singer would go missing during production and clashed with cast members. Singer admitted to "creative differences on set" but claimed his departure was because 20th Century Fox would not allow him to take time away to deal with an ill parent.

Still, Singer already has another gig lined up.

He is next set to direct an adaptation of the "Red Sonja" comic book for Millennium Films, a company that has recently contended with controversy.

Millennium Films and their CEO Avi Lerner were the subject of a sexual harassment suit in May 2017. (Lerner denied the claims.)

Last year, actor Terry Crews also accused Lerner of encouraging him to drop a sexual assault suit against a Hollywood executive he said groped him.

Millennium Films and Lerner have not responded to CNN's request for information on the sexual harassment suit's status, comment regarding Crews's claim, or Singer's employment status in light of the latest allegations.

Crews settled his lawsuit in September.

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