In his response to sexual misconduct allegations made against him, Bryan Singer is taking a page from Kevin Spacey’s playbook. He’s trying to use his identity as a gay man as a shield. When Spacey was accused of molesting underage boys, he publicly came out in a tweet. Singer, who made X2 a metaphor for the LGBTQA community’s fight for acceptance, has been openly gay for years. Now, Singer is calling The Atlantic’s report on allegations of sexual assault and statutory rape against him a “homophobic smear piece.”
Buzzfeed reporter Adam B. Vary shared Singer’s response on Twitter:
The screengrabbed response written by Singer reads:
“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.”
After employing the alleged abuser trademark of dismissing accusers as fame/payout-seeking liars, Singer suggests this is a groundless attack made on him not because he is guilty of any of the sex crimes of which he is accused, but rather because he is a gay man targeted by a homophobic journalist. This is a strategy Singer has been employing since 1997, when he faced criticism over the production of a shower scene in Apt Pupil, which involved underaged boys in the nude.
Mark Harris was an editor at Entertainment Weekly, when the magazine ran an article asking, “Was an indecent proposal made on Bryan Singer’s Apt Pupil set?” In a revealing Twitter thread, he shares how Singer responded after the story ran.
Some context: Note that Singer, in the Apt Pupil story, was not accused of sexual assault. The dispute was about whether teenage boys were asked to disrobe for a scene by other people or whether it happened under his supervision. 3/— Mark Harris (@MarkHarrisNYC) December 8, 2017
And then he said (I'm paraphrasing) "For anyone who wants to take down a gay director in Hollywood, what is the worst thing you can throw at them? That they go after kids. So if anything, I would be EXTRA careful about how I run a set." 5/— Mark Harris (@MarkHarrisNYC) December 8, 2017
Singer didn’t threaten to sue EW or declare their piece a smear job. He appealed to the humanity of the journalists in that room, asking them to consider the additional obstacles he faces as a gay man in Hollywood, like the homophobic belief that gay men are all perverts and child predators. Thus, he used the gay community as a shield to protect him from even this mild criticism, which did not yet involve sexual assault.
Also imagine a world in which Bryan Singer had made just two movies and this Apt Pupil story came up. It wasn't a case of "Believe him" vs. "Believe the victims'— the victims were clearly telling the truth. The question was about Singer's involvement. 7/— Mark Harris (@MarkHarrisNYC) December 8, 2017
to an older staff that was working fast to learn the new rules about talking to and about gay people—well, that would be an astonishingly shrewd and wanton act of sociopathy. The perfect way to use your own sexual identity and someone else's to play them. 9/— Mark Harris (@MarkHarrisNYC) December 8, 2017
Aside from potentially using the EW staff’s compassion against them, Singer seems to have employed a tactic that Spacey and Harvey Weinstein used to muddy rumors. He let a little secret about his sex life—that he was gay—out to satisfy curiosity. In Hollywood and on Broadway, Spacey’s sexual orientation has long been an open secret, and many knew about his interest in younger men. But who knew that interest extended to underaged boys? Weinstein hid his litany of sexual misconduct allegations behind the well-known and sordid enough tales of the casting couch and “Harvey’s girls.” Because enough people knew part of the story, which already felt exclusive and a bit scandalous, many felt in the know and cozy in that.
However, what The Atlantic piece reveals is not just new allegations against Singer, but also that it took a village to look the other way again and again for 20 years. Some of us can be blamed for not wanting to suspect the worst of one of Hollywood’s most powerful gay players. Some of us can be blamed for much much more.
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