After tremendous pressure and public outcry, Millennium Films has temporarily halted going forward with the movie "Red Sonja" following allegations that director Bryan Singer ("X-Men") sexually abused underage males for nearly two decades.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, while Bryan Singer has not officially been removed as the director for "Red Sonja," the movie has been removed from the slate for Millennium Films.
"Singer has not officially been removed as director of the film, but it is no longer on the company's slate and it is not being shopped at this year's European Film Market in Berlin," THR reported.
The halting of "Red Sonja" follows a bombshell report published in The Atlantic last month that detailed as many four new allegations of sexual abuse against the director. Despite the controversy, the film's producer, Avi Lerner, publicly defended Singer as a victim of "agenda driven fake news." Singer was slated to earn a paycheck of $10 million to direct the movie.
"I continue to be in development for Red Sonja and Bryan Singer continues to be attached," Lerner said in a statement. "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. 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 otherwise."
After intense backlash, Lerner later clarified to The Hollywood Reporter that crisis PR guru Howard Bragman wrote the statement without him having read it. "I don't want to apologize. I just want to clarify [the statement]," Lerner said. "I think victims should be heard and this allegation should be taken very, very seriously. I just don't agree to judge by the Twitter. I want [the accused] to be judged by the court."
GLAAD responded to the allegations by revoking its nomination of the Singer-directed hit "Bohemian Rhapsody" for its annual award ceremony.
Unlike the allegations brought against Brett Kavanaugh, allegations brought against Bryan Singer include specific dates, times, descriptions, corroborative witnesses, and behavioral patterns. The report by Alex French and Maximillian Potter took a year to compile and included over 50 sources.
"We spent 12 months investigating various lawsuits and allegations against Singer," French and Potter report. "In total, we spoke with more than 50 sources, including four men who have never before told their stories to reporters. A man we’ll call Eric told us that he was 17 in 1997 when he and Singer had sex at a party at the director’s house; another we’ll call Andy says he was only 15 that same year, when he and Singer had sex in a Beverly Hills mansion. Both men say Singer, who was then in his early 30s, knew they were under 18, the age of consent in California. (They asked The Atlantic to conceal their identity for fear of retaliation, and because they didn’t want certain details about their past made public.)"
Bryan Singer has denounced all allegations against him as a "homophobic smear."
"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 message sent to Deadline. "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," he continued. "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."