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Maximillian Potter and Alex French, who penned a lengthy investigation into the behavior of director Bryan Singer that was published Wednesday morning by The Atlantic, said their story was intended for publication in Esquire magazine but was “killed” by Hearst executives for unknown reasons.
The story, which resulted from a 12-month investigation, uncovered four more men who accuse the filmmaker of having sex with them when they were underage. Potter and French, both writers-at-large for Esquire, explained the story’s origin in a lengthy statement posted by The Atlantic.
“We have been asked why a story reported and written by two Esquire writers is being published in The Atlantic,” they said. “This story began with our editors at Esquire. After months of reporting, this story went through Esquire’s editorial process, which included fact-checking and vetting by a Hearst attorney, and the story was approved for publication.”
They continued: “The story was then killed by Hearst executives. We do not know why.”
The writers praised The Atlantic for publishing the story and said it was scrutinized by the magazine with a “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,” they said.
A spokesperson for Hearst Magazines and Esquire has not yet responded to a request for comment about the allegation, but Singer released a statement attacking the story.
“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,” the director stated. “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.”
Added 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. 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.”
Singer is the credited director on Bohemian Rhapsody, but was fired in December 2017 by producers 20th Century Fox amid a clash with star Rami Malek, who plays Freddie Mercury in the film. After a production shutdown, producer Graham King shepherded the musical biopic ahead of its Nov. 4 release. Bohemian Rhapsody has earned more than $800 million worldwide to date and received five Oscar nominations on Tuesday.
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