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Over a 12-month investigation, the journalists say they spoke to more that 50 sources, including four men who have never talked about their experiences with Singer before. One individual claimed that, at the age of 17, he had sex with the director at Singer’s house in 1997. Another claimed that he and Singer had sex the same year in a Beverly Hills mansion, when he was just 15. Both assert that Singer, who was then in his early 30s, knew that they were under 18 and therefore below the age of consent in California.
“The accusations against Singer cover a spectrum,” The Atlantic story emphasized. “Some of the alleged victims say they were seduced by the director while underage; others say they were raped. The victims we interviewed told us these experiences left them psychologically damaged, with substance-abuse problems, depression and PTSD.”
One of the people the magazine spoke with said that Singer and his friends had people who brought them boys. “If you weren’t young and cute enough to be their boy, you could still ingratiate yourself by bringing boys to them,” he is quoted as saying.
Victor Valdovinos told The Atlantic that he was a 13-year-old extra on the set of Apt Pupil when Singer — then in his 30s — touched his genitals. According to Valdovinos, Singer molested him multiple times during a day of filming in a locker room that required partial nudity.
Valdovinos — the only subject to reveal his name; the other new accusers are identified by pseudonyms — said that Singer reached through the flaps of the towel wrapped around his waist and “grabbed my genitals and started masturbating it.” Valdovinos also said that Singer “rubbed his front part on me,” adding that Singer “did it all with this smile.” Valdovinos said that Singer told him, “You’re so good-looking … I really want to work with you … I have a nice Ferrari … I’m going to take care of you.”
Valdovinos recalled that he felt “frozen” and “speechless” after Singer’s alleged advances. “He came back to where I was in the locker room throughout the day to molest me,” Valdovinos added.
In December 2017, Singer was accused of rape by Cesar Sanchez-Guzman, who claimed Singer forced him to engage in oral and anal sex while aboard a yacht in Seattle in 2003 when he was just 17. Singer has denied Sanchez-Guzman’s allegations and the case is still pending.
Speaking with The Atlantic, Sanchez-Guzman said that “the industry will brush things under the rug and pretend nothing happened. Most people don’t see the truth.”
The allegations made in The Atlantic come as Singer’s professional reputation has been called into question after he was fired during the production of Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody in December 2017. Executives at 20th Century Fox came to the decision after escalating tensions between Singer and actor Rami Malek caused by the former’s frequent unexplained absences from set. Singer denied all allegations of unprofessional behavior and claimed Fox refused to allow him to tend to “a gravely ill parent” as well as to his own health.
Singer was replaced by Eddie the Eagle director Dexter Fletcher for the final weeks of shooting Bohemian Rhapsody, but he was still credited as sole director of the film due to DGA rules.
Despite a difficult production and a lukewarm reception from critics, Bohemian Rhapsody has proved to be a huge global hit, with an $800 million and counting box office haul. The film has also proved a champion during awards season, picking up two Golden Globe awards (best drama film and Malek for best actor in a drama) and five Academy Award nominations, including best film, on Tuesday.
In response to the Atlantic article, Singer released the following statement through his rep: “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. 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. 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.”
Jan. 23, 9:11 a.m. This story has been updated with Singer’s response.
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