The Bryan Singer Allegations: Let’s Talk About White Male Privilege, Not Gay Culture

The Bryan Singer Allegations: Let's Talk About White Male Privilege, Not Gay Culture

Let’s get two things clear. Number one, Bryan Singer has been accused of the repeated anal rape of a child. Number two, none of us can say whether or not he is guilty.

I wanted to state my first point in such bold terms because many articles have described the accusations of his accuser, Michael Egan, in softer phrasing. Language matters, and using terms like abuse and assault, particularly when talking about teenage male victims of sexual abuse, can contribute to a pervading tendency to diminish and belittle such acts. These are deeply serious allegations which, if true, can be presumed to have inflicted irreparable damage on their alleged victim.

But I’m not here to discuss whether or not they are true. Nor do I want to trawl through the stories that are emerging of a sub-culture of powerful gay men in Hollywood and the parties at which they wielded their power through sexuality. Yes, we’ve known about this for years, and we’ve known that Bryan Singer has been a big player at such events. There’s plenty of evidence of behaviour of his that many, including myself, find deeply questionable. But is that proof that these latest allegations are true? No.

The truth is, you can be utterly despicable in how you use your power and privilege to determine who you get to sleep with, but that doesn’t automatically make you a child rapist. And making that inference by saying “We’ve known about this for years” is pretty illogical.

I say all this in defence of the legal process, not Bryan Singer, believe you me. But to me, the kind of gay sub-culture being discussed is evidence not of Bryan Singer’s culpability, but how a separate standard operates for powerful white men in Hollywood, gay or straight.

The worst aspect of the press coverage of Michael Egan’s allegations is the suggestion that the timing is related to the release of the latest X Men sequel. A site called Movie Pilot offers a typical reaction: “Well… how about that. The timing is certainly interesting at least?”, their writer comments, rather insidiously inferring some kind of hidden agenda without having the guts to state it outright.

What is the suggestion here (and all over Twitter)? That Michael Egan is somehow attempting to skewer the success of the film, or capitalize on the publicity surrounding its director? Sadly, that’s hardly a likely outcome, even if it were his intention. For a start, it radically and quite nastily underestimates the emotional and psychological toll of speaking out about rape. Secondly, the truth is that a director is never more invincible than when he releases a popular film.

Why do I bring gender and race into it? Because it’s currently only white male directors who our industry allows to ascend to this position of invincibility. You only need to look at a director like Spike Lee, and how often reports of his actions undermine him with derogatory “angry black man” tropes, to see that. Meanwhile, we are shamefully far from the day that the work of women directors is similarly sanctified.

Yet for Bryan Singer, there really are some who believe his films are what matter most. Beneath their article, Movie Pilot is running a horrifying poll for their readers asking “Does it change anything for you?”. Here, reader, are your options:

1. Whatever happens, it’s the films that matter

2. I’ll await the verdict first

3. I just don’t buy it

Although I was loath to participate in such a poll, I had to in order to see the results. Turns out, my choice of Option 2 was the least popular among readers, with 1 and 3 currently neck and neck. And frankly, this says it all.

The idea that anyone could even think “Whatever happens, it’s the films that matter” is the real problem here. Just ask Roman Polanski, who had a child rape conviction to his name when he won his first Oscar. If you are a (white) (male) director who makes successful films, no behaviour is too damaging to derail your career. I’m not talking about allegations (which shouldn’t affect anyone’s reputation until proven one way or the other) but known, documented behaviour, which would utterly destroy a man’s reputation were they not giving us something we want – a movie.

And please don’t get me started on Wagner and anti-semitism and whether art can transcend an artist’s personal life. Yes, that’s a question. But this is a problem. And it’s not a particular Hollywood gay subculture (unpalatable though that may be), but our wider culture, which apparently doesn’t give a shit whether a director is guilty of a crime or not, so long as he – yes, he – makes a film we want to see.

This article was amended for clarification on 19th April

This Article is related to: News


Comments

Kevin

Singer's not White; he's a Jew.

I love how here we have a classic case of a sick pedophile homosexual rapist Jew, but it still comes down to White people are evil.

Author is a retard.

    Lawrence

    Heterosexual white men are privileged when was the last time you seen a heterosexual killed for being heterosexual? When was the last time you seen a white person being killed for being white? When was the last time makes were oppressed?

    Lawrence

    It’s pretty messed up to call me a pedophile for my orientation. It’s like me going around saying all heterosexuals are pedophiles they like to date little kids would you like that? You would get all mad because you might not think it’s true so why go and say that about me? My reputation is already damaged the world hates me what do you want from me? I like other MEN my own age or alittle older that’s not pedophilia you need to do you research.

    Jay moser

    Whoever said singers not white, he’s a Jew has got to be the biggest idiot I’ve ever seen

Raphael

Here in Europe – and no doubt the rest of the world – we have heard all about the accusations against Bryan Singer. And yet … to be honest, no one has the faintest idea who he is – he has never made an appearance in our press before; nor has anyone ever heard of the accuser, Michael Egan. But the point is: the story perfectly fits a narrative beloved of the media around the world – namely, evil gay men raping boys – which is being combined with the new trope of evil gay men controlling Hollywood. The only reason we are being told about these unknown figures is because the allegations and the Hollywood context are seen as giving further evidence of the malign roles of, yes, Evil Gay Men. Singer is only mentioned in the media (here in Britain at least) because he is assumed to be guilty; there is no hint that he might have to appear before a court which might be capable of acquitting him. Meanwhile, the Singer story is being strikingly juxtaposed with the announcement of Jodie Foster's marriage – seemingly to underline a good-bad, light-dark, female-male dichotomy: lesbians are illustrious (and they don't get more illustrious than Foster), monogamous, wholesome, and adhere to the highest of morals; whereas gay men are violent rapists, i.e. … evil. It's an interesting repeat of the Katy Perry Doctrine – girls kissing girls is cool (that is, hot), whereas telling a boy "ur so gay" marks him out as the lowest of the low.

Interestingly, for those of us who are far from Hollywood, well, although plenty of people submitting comments below tell us that there are Jewish gay male elites who control Hollywood entirely by virtue of their, er…, Jewish gay male "privilege" – that dimension of the story is unknown in the rest of the world. Though one has to wonder: if they really do control everything in Hollywood, these "privileged" Jewish gay men, why can't we name one single out gay male actor (Jewish or Gentile!) of Foster's stature?? It's clear enough that any suggestion of gayness is seen as box office poison in the case of a (male) actor, especially in the US (whereas in Britain several of our most important male actors have come out, and it doesn't seem to have destroyed their careers) – so it's certainly a shame, to say the least, that these armies of wealthy "privileged" Jewish gay men behind the scenes (controlling everything!) aren't able to give us one single out gay male Hollywood star. Not one.

    Lawrence

    It isn’t fair how media portrays me. The straight men are portrayed as “better” and stronger when the media portrays me as weak soft and girly when it clearly isn’t true. The USA is very very judgemental that’s why I am moving elsewhere.

James

I don't think framing people for rape is going to do much to lessen "white male privilege." If you're going to be framed for rape because you're "privileged" (and it doesn't seem like Egan is targeting guys without any money; he has filed this kind of lawsuit before), you're only going to do whatever you can to become MORE privileged. Some people in this world make more money, and can hire better lawyers… and at this rate, I don't blame them. Lawyer up, Bryan Singer. Seems it isn't just opportunistic wannabes who are after your scalp, it's also tendentious journalists who wish to make an example of you as a warning to other rich and goodlooking young white guys, who might otherwis commit the sin of having sex with poor and good-looking YOUNGER white guys (oh, the horror, the horror!). The fact that Singer seems to like younger men (18 t0 21 by one account) seems to make him a credible pedophile to some people. But just because YOU can't tell the difference between 18 and 15 doesn't mean he can't.

San Fernando Curt

Basing this story in race, you evade key issue of class, and it's difficult to believe you don't do it deliberately. If Singer and the rest are guilty of these things, it's their wealth and influence that allowed them to sustain it, and perhaps evade punishment. It's no different whether they be rich filmmakers in Hollywood or rich Saudis in the fleshpots of Europe. Injecting race into every issue is one of the chief missteps that have rendered the American Left utterly irrelevant.

bill

How about we talk about Jewish privilege for a change?

JDB

I believe many of you are distorting the writers argument. The white privilege has to do with our perception of singer. Despite being accused of this horrible crime, many are willing to let it go since they love Singer's films. Then you look at someone like Michael Vick. Because he was black, he was immediately found guilty.

I'm not sure if I'm buying the white privilege claim 100%. Look at Michael Jackson or Kobe Bryant. When they were accused of rape, they had many non-believers.

babyblue

Why would one not "have the guts to say" something "outright"?! Why didn't you? Somewhat ironic, dontcha think?

MM

Singer's wealth and perceived influence in Hollywood is what's given him his "privilege," not his race or his sexual preference. There are many white males in Hollywood who do not have the ability to get away with what Singer is being accused of because they don't have his level of success. In fact, I would bet many of his alleged victims were white males.

Eldin Reynold

Zachary, please learn the difference between "imply" and "infer." Thank you.

jamesxxxxxxxxxx

gay = rapist = pervert

    Lawrence

    You clearly know my community isn’t rapist and perverts your just trolling and are so closed minded. Have you seen the sex offenders list? What do you see the most? HETEROSEXUAL men that touch little girls and boys I watched a documentary on this and the men that raped boys claimed to have a heterosexual orientation so you comment doesn’t make sense. straight=rapist=pervert. :-)

Steve Lawrence

It's funny that the author here transcends the Jewishness of both Bryan Singer and Roman Polanksi while decrying "white" male privilege, yet summons the stones to cite (presumably, Richard) Wagner's work to be not quite beyond criticism for his personal views. That's different; that was anti-semitism. This is mere child molestation, hardly a crime in some circles of elites.

Days of Broken Arrows

If you believe in "white male privilege" then you have the look at why white men got to such a position — when whites are actually a minority globally. And the answer to that would be that white men designed and built pretty much everything in the civilized world. They even came up with the idea of "freedom of speech" and the technology you used to get your message across. I personally think it's more complicated than that, but anyone who believes in "white male privilege," must concede that the privilege wasn't taken but earned — and if it was "taken," doesn't that also mean white men were smart enough to take it and everyone else wasn't? So congrats to anyone who believes in this concept because you're the bigots.

Yikes

I think this is misguided thinking this is just a White Hollywood thing. It's a power and money thing. Anyone who's ever partied with lawyers or plastic surgeons know this. Black or white.

Mike J.

I feel obligated to clarify that, although I do think there's a wealthy Jewish and/or gay clique in Hollywood (who partially reaffirm the whole-hunting-for-a-shiksa-goddess/gentile god-boy thing…..Singer; Donner; probably Emmerich; Geffen; Speilberg; Schumacher..etc.) who protect each other and have developed a culture of quite arrogant behavior, I'm not taking an anti-Jewish position. Growing up in Brooklyn I knew (and still do) blue collar Jews who certainly weren't privileged or favored in any way by anyone. (And are nice people).

Jennifer Katona

The notion that Singer, a homosexual Jew, is somehow a beneficiary of so-called White privilege instead of, you know, judeo-homo privilege, is beyond absurd.

    Lawrence

    Can we stop with the labels I don’t see people saying oh that heterosexual guy or white guy. Why do people seem to still hate on those two they went through the holocaust and all other bad things so how are they privileged? I don’t feel privileged being non heterosexual.

Shtulpin

Does whitey suffer from "beauty" privilege too, that makes him/her supposed to be more likely to be raped as well?

Total Rape Victims by Race
Race Rape Victims Percent Distribution
White 1,220 57.3 %
Black 857 40.3 %
American Indian/Alaskan Native 21 1.0 %
Asian/Pacific Islander 16 0.8 %
Unknown 15 0.7 %
Total Victims 2,129 100.0 %

Shtulpin

I fail to see how this is about white privilege, seeing as this guy benefits FAR greatly moreso from Jewish privilege, given his connections in Hollywood, his wealth, etc.

Sorry Indiewire, I know that this latest "famous gay" turning out to be in fact, yet another homosexual rapist puts a damper in your argument that they're "well-rounded just like us, only quirkier and more colourful!", and that's what bothers you and thus why you try to divert attention to race.

shameful, Jewish racebaiters you are.

    Lawrence

    Just call them RAPIST we don’t see people saying oh this straight-rapist or a famous heterosexual rapist. When you bring my sexuality into in you are calling all of the community rapist because of one idiot who did something they shouldn’t have done and they are most likes HETEROSEXUAL. You are uneducated just because you hate people like me doesn’t mean you have to go as far as to say we are rapist that is taking it to another level and isn’t true I like other men my age thank you very much heterosexual.

Andoni

This is only about a horrific act: rape. Don't try to take advantage of the situation and make it about white men privileges, for God's sake.

DM

Are privileged women less likely to be abusive assholes? Are privileged minorities (*cough* NFL *cough*)? Not in my experience. There are just fewer of them.

It's sloppy to lump Polanski in with Singer as another privileged white male rapist. Singer grew up outside of Princeton, NJ (the 15th most affluent neighborhood in the US) while Polanski spent his youth running from the (white) Nazis who killed his mother and imprisoned his father. Is that the upbringing of a privileged person?

The fact that both Singer and Polanski (and Woody Allen if we're keeping track of directors with 'short eyes") are Jewish pokes holes in the 'privileged white males are rapists' argument. Historically, being Jewish has been the opposite of privilege… even the opposite of 'white.' We would never suggest that priveleged Jews are rapists though… No no. That would be anti-Semitic. Re: the infamous R Kelly sex tape, we would never suggest he was a rapist because he was privileged and black… That would be racist. But saying Singer is a rapist because he's privileged and white? Fair game.

Mike J.

Or about Jew Hollywood privilege ?

Allan Nicholls

A well written article that shocked and angered me. Then it made me helpless and ineffective. I would plead to my unions (DGA SAG WGA), the Studios, and the Producers Association, who wield all the power in Hollywood; can't you do something? can't you get this right for once? This is about being human…

Snow

If it was all about money, the victim surely would have first approached Singer privately to try to get money from him. As the author writes, claims like these don't come without a emotional toll on the alleged victim. As for the timing, it's perfectly legitimate that the victim could have been triggered by the publicity surrounding the movie release, stewing in his anger (rightfully so) that this man doesn't deserve accolades and positive attention considering what he has done.

JW

"What is the suggestion here (and all over Twitter)? That Michael Egan is somehow attempting to skewer the success of the film, or capitalize on the publicity surrounding its director? Sadly, that's hardly likely."

Wait, so we can't make assumptions about Singer's culpability but we CAN assume that this isn't some form of cash-grabbing allegation?

Let's be consistent here. We don't know if Singer's guilty any more than we know if Egan's allegations are true.

MaySausage

Why white? do asians, blacks or latinos not fuk kids or rape?

are there no Privileged asians, blacks or latinos?

Dora

Actually, I would really appreciate it if you would go into Wagner and anti-semitism. Largely because I find myself having to make that argument again, and again, and I am starting to run out of arguments…

dskfjgn

Yes, this story in which the perpetrator and victim both share the same race and gender is totally about race and gender. Jesus, find a less worn-out fixation.

Blogging: it's easier than making a blip on an EEG.

Rene

Bullshit, It's about a part gay culture. White male privilege may play a role as well.

Danella Isaacs

Didn't Marion Barry get reelected as DC mayor after being recorded smoking crack and found guilty of various not-so-small other crimes? It's true that white men are over-privileged, but this is a simplistic take on that.

sean

For those who partied in Hollywood at gay bars in the 90's, these are old stories. And Singer's behavior was much gabbed about back in the day. Stories of him and a certain award winning actor picking up young hustlers are legendary. But just because they're decades old, doesn't make them true. As a director, I lost interest in his work after that crappy Superman he made so I haven't kept up with his career.

Crazyxcrazy

Another "just kill all straight white males and everything will be fine" blog.

ZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Mike Curtis

Walk any lot in Hollywood and quietly ask the crew members about these people. Ask the electricians, grips, props people, etc. You'll get an entirely different picture of these men from we who observe them in their unguarded moments. Divorced from above the line agendas and angles of those usually interviewed for such articles, a profile will emerge of vanity, ego, insecurity, entitlement, detachment, and outright cruelty.
Of course, the thoughts of an unknown dolly grip or rigging gaffer won't tickle the imagination of your readership and sell product like the vacuous and self-serving banter of the flavor of the month actor, an entirely different profile will be exposed.

Nathan

The guy wasnt raped. A 17 year old man who is willing to have sex for fame is a famewhore-he cant be raped. And you dont get raped then go to another party and get raped again then fly to Hawaii and get raped again. He is a failed actor/model/male whore and now he wants money 15 years later…it wont work. And as for Singer? Ive met him twice-yeah, he likes the young boys..so what? he doesnt need to rape the willing…

md

i'm shocked to find they are still segregating anal rape parties in this day in age.

FP

'There's plenty of evidence of behaviour of his that many, including myself, find abhorrent. But is that proof that these latest allegations are true? No."

So in other words, the author is aware that the allegations made against of Bryan Singer are true, though not in the case of the plaintiff? Wow, way to insert yourself into the proceedings, Mr. Tallis! Your throwaway assertion demands greater context or explanation, whether here or in court. The floor is yours if you care to elaborate, otherwise can we assume that your assertion will stand alone if it was your desire to assassinate Singer's character without revealing your "evidence?"

As for "revealing" dominant white male culture, this is a country and star system which allowed Rock Hudson and Liberace to be openly in the closet for 30 years, before "shocking" the general public with the facts that both died of AIDS. In other words, we didn't need to read this hit job to understand the obviousness of its point. We already had Trayvon Martin, and Goldman Sachs, and Woody Allen to illustrate it.

Get it together, Bent.

Charmee

There are some distinctions that our culture needs to make and that is the difference between being gay and being a pedophile. Those do not intertwine and steriotypes such as this perpetuate a culture of over sexualized queer figures, making gay and lesbians, other.

I go to Penn State University and when the Sandusky allegations came to the surface there was a conflict between heroism and sexual orientation. The Westboro church took it apon themselves, as they so often do, to hold signs up that alluded to Jerry Sandusky being gay. False! Let's shut that down right now being gay means that you participate in mutual consensual sex with a partner of the same sex and pedophellia is the use of power to dominate and manipulate one who cannot consent. Very, very different things.

In addition to the heroism myth: putting a figure on a peda-stool and bowing to their accomplishments; the author is clearly taking a side of the argument. It's crystal clear that you do not believe the allegations are true. You did this by isolating the victim and quickly shoving Bryan Singers accomplishments down the reader throat. Please don't play into the heroism myth that this man can be cleared of any wrong doing because of his accomplishments. Weather or not he committed this disgusting and violent acts this article is foggy. What is your objective? Why write an article that mentions his accomplishments and the allegations? Is he a hero? Better yet, because he is a hero or a pioneer in his field does it exonerate him? Can these blemishes be erased?

    Lawrence

    RIGHT! I get so annoyed when people look at me and think I wanna have sex all the time I do NOT I never think about sex very rare and I hate when people compare me to pedophiles like don’t do that pedophiles are evil I’m not.

Ike K.

You're not mentioning Wagner's personal life, you're mentioning his public one.

Rick

I'm not sure why you are so dismissive of the possibility that Egan is taking advantage of the X-Men publicity. If there are people who are so despicable enough to rape another person, there are certainly people despicable enough to take advantage of the PR-obsessed Hollywood.

KILL ALL THE MEN!

Using child rape to further push an agenda that divides human beings as opposed to bringing them together, making a general accusation about white men (once again)…You've done it again Indiewire! Congrats!

Dane

Of course it's suspicious that Egan waited 15 years to come forward one month before Singer's biggest film release ever. While someone on Movie Pilot might beat around the bush, I will say you'd have to either be naive NOT to consider that, as a logical human.

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