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The Bryan Singer Timeline: a History of Allegations and Defenses, from Troubled Films to Sexual Assault Claims

Singer was fired this week as director of "Bohemian Rhapsody," but questionable behavior — on set and off — stretches back two decades.

Bryan SingerFX's Legion Premiere, California, USA - 26 Jan 2017Bryan Singer at the red carpet event of FX's 'Legion' held at the Pacific Design Center on January 26th 2017 in West Hollywood California USA

Bryan Singer at the January 2017 premiere of FX’s “Legion”

Chris Adkins/SilverHub/REX/Shutterstock

Bryan Singer has had a ruinous week. On December 4, 20th Century Fox fired Singer from the Freddie Mercury biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody” for abandoning the London set; on December 6, the studio announced Dexter Fletcher as his replacement. In a statement, Singer ascribed his absence on “Bohemian Rhapsody” to caring for an ailing parent, but Fox also declined to renew its long-term deal with Singer’s production company, while his longtime publicist cut ties a few months ago.

And then, on December 7, Singer hit the news cycle again: In a lawsuit filed by attorney Jeff Herman, Cesar Sanchez-Guzman accused Singer of sexually assaulting him in 2003, when Sanchez-Guzman was 17.

All of this represents a tremendous comedown for Singer, a blockbuster director whose films have made over $1 billion in domestic release alone. However, along with his box-office success, his career has been marked by a long-term pattern of allegations ranging from unprofessional on-set behavior, to wild parties that may have been attended by underage boys, to charges of sexual assault.

While the last two months have brought an unprecedented number of sexual harassment and assault accusations into the public eye, Singer has a series of reported incidents that have dogged his career, and the careers of associates, across two decades.

"The Usual Suspects"

“The Usual Suspects”

Polygram/Spelling/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock

1994
Production halts on “The Usual Suspects”

On December 3, Gabriel Byrne told The Sunday Times that filming on Singer’s “The Usual Suspects” was temporarily suspended due to co-star Spacey’s “inappropriate sexual behavior,” although Byrne and other actors did not learn the reason until years later. On set, rumors about Kevin Spacey were laughed off as, “That’s Kevin.” The following year, Spacey won his first Oscar for the film. Since October 30 this year, more than 30 men and and boys have lobbed accusations against Spacey, some as severe as attempted rape. (Singer told TMZ December 7 that production never shut down. “I don’t know [why Byrne said that]. It baffles me,” Singer said. “I’ll ask him when I see him, and I do run into him quite often.”)

April 18, 1997
Parents of Devin St. Albin, 14, sue producers of “Apt Pupil”

The parents of Albin, a 14-year-old extra on Bryan Singer’s “Apt Pupil,” sued Singer and the film’s producers for allegedly filming their son and other minors naked for a shower scene without permission. St. Albin told Entertainment Weekly that the film’s wardrobe department instructed him and other actors to don bathrobes and peach-colored G-strings for a scene where the protagonist (Ian McKellan) imagines his students showering in a concentration camp gas chamber. When cameras rolled, the actors were told to remove all their clothing; Albin said he did not comply, but others did. Several other young actors also sued the filmmakers, but the suits were dismissed for insufficient evidence.

1997-2000
Singer and the Digital Entertainment Network

Nearly a decade before YouTube, there was Digital Entertainment Network. In 1996, the founders were Marc Collins-Rector, 40 and Chad Shackley, 24; in 1997 they added Brock Pierce, a 17-year-old former child actor whom, according to Amy Berg’s 2015 documentary “An Open Secret,” Singer introduced to DEN. (Singer later became a minor DEN investor.) With ambitions to deliver original episodic video content for the 14-24 audience, by 1999 DEN had over 200 employees, a $58 million valuation, and attracted investment from Microsoft, Dell, and Chase, among others. “We plan to become the Time Warner of the Internet,” Shackley told Michigan’s Harald-Palladium in December 1999.

However, DEN’s taste seemed questionable. Collins-Rector and Shackley lived at an Encino estate once owned by Suge Knight and became known for wild parties often attended by Singer. The estate also served as the setting for  “Chad’s World,” which reportedly cost $12 million and was loosely based on Shackley’s life. According to a March 1998 report in Variety, “Chad’s World” was pitched as a “teen-skewed half-hour drama that represents the first-ever serialized episodic TV program produced expressly for the Internet.” However, in a November 2007 Radar article about the fall of DEN, an industry observer described the product as a “gay pedophile version of ‘Silver Spoons.'” (In June 2000, DEN filed for bankruptcy.)

Read More:  Bryan Singer’s Sex Abuse Accuser Is Teaming With Documentarian Amy Berg

July 20, 2000
“X-Men” actor Alexander Burton files lawsuit against DEN founders

In a suit filed a week after the “X-Men” premiere, former DEN employees Burton (who portrayed John Allerdyce / Pyro in “X-Men”), Mark Ryan, and “Michael E.” filed suit, claiming that the founders of DEN offered them jobs, then sexually and physically assaulted them as well as coerced them to consume prescription drugs and controlled substances. According to an April 18, 2014 Buzzfeed article, plaintiff’s attorney Jacob Arash Shahbaz said the case was settled confidentially. However, “according to the case docket obtained by BuzzFeed, the three were awarded $2,000,030 in a judgment and $1 million in accrued interest in 2011. Shahbaz did not immediately respond to questions what those judgments were for, whether they were paid by the defendant, and whether they were separate from the settlement.”

Those were civil suits. However, according to Buzzfeed, in August 2000 a federal grand jury indicted Collins-Rector on criminal charges of transporting minors across state lines for the purpose of sex. The founding trio of DEN then fled the country, and were arrested in Spain by Interpol in May 2002 where they also found guns, machetes, and “an enormous collection of child porn,” according to Spanish police reports. Collins-Rector spent 18 months in prison and registered as a convicted sex offender.

2002
Singer delays shooting on “X-Men 2;” Halle Berry tells him off

In 2014, Singer told Empire Magazine that shooting on “X-Men 2” was delayed when he got into “a personal argument” with executive producer Tom DeSanto. His cast was furious. Said Singer: “We had a conference in one of the trailers and I felt that there was a misunderstanding, and I didn’t agree with them, and Halle stormed out… She actually said, ‘You can watch my black ass while I walk out of here.” Singer told Empire that DeSanto was “my dear friend, who I’m still very close friends with today;” “X-Men 2” was their last film together.

2005
“Superman Returns” goes over schedule and over budget

Budgeted at $184.5 million, final production costs are estimated at $270 million. Sources told The Hollywood Reporter that Singer failed to appear on set, or seemed “heavily medicated;” a friend added that Singer was “battling his own [medication] demons.” (According to Singer’s attorney, Marty Singer: “He took medication for back pain.”) Chris Lee, a “Superman Returns” executive producer and former Columbia TriStar production executive who also oversaw “Apt Pupil,” was sent to Australia to bring Singer in line. However, another executive said: “Chris wasn’t able to do with Bryan what we’d thought he’d be able to do. We needed someone who would be able to control and guide Bryan a little better.”

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