Sexual assault allegations have haunted Bryan Singer, director of “Bohemian Rhapsody” (right) throughout award season. (Photo: Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic/Yuriko Nakao/Getty Images)
2018 was a revolutionary year for how American culture responded to sexual assault cases. The #MeToo movement on Twitter encouraged victims to share their stories in an effort to bring change. Hollywood’s Harvey Weinstein was ousted from his own company as scores of allegations about him became public. Actors voiced their opinions on the Weinstein scandal and about sexual assault. They vowed to never keep such men in Hollywood.
But as sexual assault allegations swirl about Bryan Singer, director of the award-winning “Bohemian Rhapsody,” the Hollywood establishment has been all-too silent.
“Bohemian Rhapsody” is a 2018 biographical film about the musical band Queen and the life of its lead singer Freddie Mercury. The movie garnered a dozen major awards, including the Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture and the Academy Award for Best Actor, among others.
But Singer was nowhere to be found at either award ceremony, nor was he acknowledged in any of the various acceptance speeches.
Ironically, attendees at The Golden Globes wore all black as a symbol of protest against sexual assault. That night, Singer’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” took home Best Motion Picture.
According to the Atlantic, 20th Century Fox fired Singer in December 2017, with less than three weeks of filming left. Days after his firing, 31-year-old Cesar Sanchez-Guzman filed a lawsuit against Singer claiming that he raped him at the age of 17; Singer denied these allegations.
In all, Singer has been accused of raping four underage males. According to Vox, “In 2014, two men filed lawsuits against Singer accusing him of sexually assaulting them while they were underage. Those lawsuits were later dismissed.”
It was conflicts between Singer and lead actor Rami Malek and repeated absences from the set that reportedly led to his firing, not the sexual assault allegations.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, Singer stated, “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.”
The public used Singer’s firing to protest the film’s nomination for Best Picture at the Academy Awards. They pointed out that the film was directed by a man with multiple sexual assault allegations.
Some speculated that the allegations against Singer may have helped diminish “Bohemian Rhapsody’s” Oscar prospects. It was beat out for Best Picture by “Green Book,” a film that has been plagued by its own series of controversies.
Over the past two decades, Singer’s films have earned more than $3 billion at the box office. This raises the question: does Hollywood care enough about victims of sexual assault to shun a director who has produced billions of dollars of revenue? Likewise, what do the stars of his past films have to say about him and these allegations?
Rami Malek he spoke vaguely about the allegations for the first time in February 2019 at the Santa Barbara Film Festival: “My heart goes out to anyone who has to live through anything like what I’ve heard and what is out there,” he said.
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