Following an expose that claimed Bryan Singer has seduced and molested several underage men, the film production company Millennium Films on Thursday said it is staunchly supporting the director.
In a statement, Avi Lerner, founder and chief executive of Millennium, said that the company is going forward with a remake of the fantasy adventure "Red Sonja" with Singer attached to direct.
"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," said Lerner. "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 guilty."
U.S. & World
An article published Wednesday in The Atlantic alleged a pattern of predatory behavior by Singer, including sex with a 15-year-old at a Beverly Hills, Calif., mansion in 1997. Three men spoke on the condition of anonymity and a fourth said he was molested by Singer on the set of 1998's "Apt Pupil" when he was in the seventh grade.
Singer has denied the claims. He called the article a "homophobic smear piece" that was "conveniently timed" to take advantage of the success of "Bohemian Rhapsody."
"It's sad that The Atlantic would stoop to this low standard of journalistic integrity," said Singer. "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."
The Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office earlier investigated claims that male minors were pressured into stripping naked for a shower scene in "Apt Pupil" but declined to press charges. Lawsuits filed by families of the minors involved were settled out of court.
"Bohemian Rhapsody," the Freddie Mercury biopic, was nominated for five Oscars on Tuesday, including best picture. Singer was fired as the director of the 20th Century Fox film during shooting after several absences from the London production. He remains the sole credited director on the film even though he was replaced by Dexter Fletcher.
Days after Singer was dismissed from "Bohemian Rhapsody," Cesar Sanchez-Guzman filed a lawsuit in Seattle against Singer alleging the director raped him in 2003 when Sanchez-Guzman was 17. Singer's attorney Andrew Brettler at the time said Singer "categorically denies these allegations and will vehemently defend this lawsuit to the very end." The case is still pending.
Founded in 1996, Millennium Films has produced a number of star-driven action films including "The Expendables," ''Olympus Has Fallen" and "The Hitman's Bodyguard."
On Thursday, GLAAD removed "Bohemian Rhapsody" from consideration for its 30th Media Awards. GLAAD said in a statement that The Atlantic article "brought to light a reality that cannot be ignored or even tacitly rewarded."
Time's Up, the group formed by women in the entertainment industry to combat sexual harassment, on Thursday called the allegations against Singer "horrifying" and said they must be taken seriously and investigated.
"Those who hire alleged abusers must recognize that these decisions not only subject their employees to possibly unsafe working conditions but also perpetuates a broken system that rewards powerful people and allows them to act without consequences," said Time's Up.