Bryan Singer

‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’ will be out May 23, but now that director Bryan Singer has been accused of rape, what’s a movie watcher to do?

The Associated Press reported:

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A man who claims he was sexually abused by “X-Men” franchise director Bryan Singer said Thursday that he reported the molestation to authorities at the time, and he does not know why charges were never pursued.

With his voice occasionally wavering, Michael Egan III described abuse he said began when he was 15 years old at the hands of Singer and others. He told of being plied with drugs and promises of Hollywood fame while also enduring threats and sexual abuse in Hawaii and Los Angeles over several years.

“You were a piece of meat,” Egan said of how he and other teenage boys were viewed at the home where he claims Singer abused him.

Signer’s attorney Marty Singer wrote in a statement after Egan’s remarks that the accusations were “completely fabricated.”

But are they? That’s the big question. In terms of the pool parties Mr. Egan says he attended, it doesn’t appear as though anyone is a.) disputing that they existed, or b.) that “Hollywood power broker” Mark Rector-Collins (who was jailed in 2004 for sex abuse of minors) also attended them. Bryan Singer’s attorney called the accusations “completely without merit” — and that may be true — but there seems to be enough there to warrant a serious investigation.

The Daily Mail reported:

I wouldn’t say it was a relationship [with Singer], you were a piece of meat,’ Egan said of how he was treated at the parties at Rector Collins’ home that he allegedly began attending when he was just 14 or 15.

He said: ‘Certain situations like at the house where the rules were no swimsuits by the pool areas. I was in the hot tub with Singer and other individuals, they grope you, shove your head under water, orally molest you, then they’d rape you by the side of hot tub. You were a piece of meat.’

He claimed the men regularly threatened to ruin his acting dreams if he didn’t comply with their demands.

‘We were told that we had to keep the members happy – “We control Hollywood and we will eliminate you” – there was threat after threat,’ Egan told reporters.

I was really excited about going to see the new X-Men movie, but now I’m conflicted. Do I want to spend money on a director’s project while he’s battling allegations that, if true, would further vindicate everything said about Hollywood’s evil little secret by Corey Feldman? It may be wrong, but I keep thinking of inappropriate wise-cracks like “X-Men: Days of Future Past … Molestation.” When Patrick Stewart asks if we are “destined to destroy ourselves” in the trailer, I now wonder if Bryan Singer destroyed a young boy’s life.

How could I sit through a movie when the entire time I’m wondering if Bryan Singer is just a new version of Roman Polanski? Will Whoopi Goldberg one day say that Bryan Singer didn’t “rape-rape Mr. Egan? Again, Mr. Singer is innocent until proven guilty, but I can’t stop my mind from wandering to such places. That doesn’t bode will for my decision to see his latest offering.

Michael Egan

Right about now some of my regular readers are probably thinking that it’s incredibly rich for the Catholic guy to be asking these questions. Well no, not really. I was distanced from the Catholic Church in many ways for years because of the priest scandals and cover-ups. I didn’t donate any money to the Catholic Church for a long time because I didn’t want what little income I had going to defend the indefensible. It took a very, very long time for me to find my way back to the Church (and guys like Pope Francis make it a heck of a lot easier).

Regardless, the New York Daily News seems to think I’m in the minority:

Industry insiders say they think few movie-goers will associate the scandal with one of the biggest popcorn flicks of the summer when it’s time to buy tickets.

“In the end, the question becomes how much of the American public is ‘auteur-ist’ enough to associate a movie with its director,” says Prof. Robert Thompson, director of Syracuse University’s Bleier Center of Television & Popular Culture.

“Is the alleged bad behavior enough to keep them from seeing the next installment of ‘X-Men’? And I think for most people that’s very much not the case.”

I’m not “auteur-ist,” New York Daily News staff, I’m just a guy who actually has a working moral compass. I would think that anyone who believes in right and wrong would be turning these sorts of issues around in their head before coughing up cash. I’m not saying they have to pull their hair out in the process, but it’s hard not to look into the details that have already been presented and wonder what the heck is going on in Hollywood.

Take the pool parties, for instance. Is a Bryan Singer pool party like something from the Playboy Bunny Ranch, except for gay men? (A friend of mine retorted: “You mean like the Gayboy Bunny Ranch”?) Drugs, booze, nudity and music all night long — what could go wrong?

I think that I would be less inclined to stay away from the movie if I felt as though Hollywood actually had a working moral compass. Hollywood embraces hedonism, so when murky issues like this come up it seems as though it’s best to err on the side of caution.

While all of us have our moral failings, at least your Average Joe knows right from wrong. Hollywood doesn’t care what you do — as long as it feels good and you don’t get caught. Sadly, sometimes getting caught can even make you more famous…

 

Bryan Singer Pool Party

As much as I wanted to see ‘X-Men: Days of Future Past,’ I just don’t know I can do so with such a massive storm cloud hanging over the director’s head (no pun intended). The only way I could possibly see it now would be if I bought a ticket to ‘Amazing Spider-Man 2’ or another movie and then walked into a theater playing X-Men.

What about you? Will you be seeing Bryan Singer’s latest when it hits theaters May 23? I’d like to hear what you think.

Editor’s Note: I will swiftly hit the delete button and ban anyone who is out of line in the comments section. If you aren’t sure if what you’re about to say will get you banned, don’t say it. Rule of thumb: If you worked for a major newspaper and your editor would blow a gasket at the comment, then don’t post it here.

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About the Author Douglas Ernst

I'm a former Army guy who believes success comes through hard work, honesty, optimism, and perseverance. I believe seeing yourself as a victim creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. I believe in God. I'm a USC Trojan with an MA in Political Science from American University.

39 comments

  1. I heard about this at Hube’s blog the other day… not sure if I’m going to see it now. I mean, I MIGHT (my mom wants to see it), but knowingly giving my money to someone who might’ve raped a kid… makes me sick.

    1. Yeah, I mean, if he wasn’t the director it would be easier. Say one of the random actors gets accused of rape. Well, that stinks, but movies are collaborative endeavors, so in my mind I don’t want to dump an entire movie because of one guy. It’s different when it’s the guy in charge of the whole operation.

      It just seems like some seriously weird stuff was going on out there if even half of what Mr. Egan says is true. I obviously don’t want the accusations to be true, but until it’s confirmed I’d rather not be shelling out money for the product.

      I’ve seen people say he’s only doing it now because he wants attention or money or whatever. Well, first of all he may have timed it to bring attention to what’s going on in Hollywood — not necessarily himself. If he is telling the truth, then broadcasting to the world that he was raped multiple times was probably not a decision he came to lightly. If he is lying, then a jury should see to it that he pays for the pain and torment caused to Mr. Singer.

    2. Agreed. Almost makes me wish Matthew Vaughn (the Director of X-Men: First Class) had stayed to direct and Singer remaining in the producer role. That would make it easier to take. Now I worry about giving my hard-earned money to someone who could potentially turn out to be another Roman Polanski.

      If Egan’s claims turn out to be true, then it would validate what Corey Feldman said a couple of years ago, about Hollywood being run by total depraved perverts that molest child stars. I said at the time that it would not surprise me if Feldman was telling the truth, given Hollywood’s “whatever feels good” mantra and got called “homophobic” on Facebook for saying that.

      If his claims aren’t true, a jury should make him should pay for making false accusations, I agree.

      That just sucks, because this was the X-Men movie I was really looking forward to. I feel the franchise has hit its stride once more with First Class and the Wolverine and was looking forward to this movie… Now, I don’t know if I’ll see it or not. Like I said, the thought of giving my money to another Roman Polanski makes me sick inside.

    3. I think if I do see it I’ll go the “pay-for-ASM2” route. Heck, the more money I can a movie featuring the real Peter Parker, the better. If ASM2 turns out to be a bomb, then maybe I’ll just pay for Winter Soldier again. 🙂

    4. I figure as long as I pay for one movie and I see one movie, that’s totally kosher. Heck, if I felt uncomfortable about it and explained the situation to the manager I bet they’d just laugh and wave me right in. At the end of the day, they just want you to buy a ticket and sit in a seat that’s open. We’ll see.

      Right now I have a really uneasy about ASM2. Something isn’t right with that one. Every new image of the Goblin I see is worse than the previous one. It’s embarrassing. There’s one picture where he looks like Billy Idol. It’s strange.

    5. Yeah, every picture I’ve seen of the new Goblin… well, he looks even worse than the original one from the 2002 movie. I’ll probably be seeing it, though.

    6. One of my buddies from high school was molested when he was about five. In 2010, I asked him who it was and he simply responded, “some old f****t who is probably dead now” and that In hindsight, it explains a lot of my (former) friend’s disturbing behavior, such as his severe anger issues and his destructive relationship with a girl from his church that ended with him being arrested on stalking charges (he apparently followed her around town). I say “former friend” because I don’t want to be associated with someone like that. Plus he wanted me and another kid I went to high school to help him rob a local flea market for “shits and giggles.”

    7. I’ve seen people say online, “Why did he wait so long?”

      Ummm…reports are that his family did go to the police about something along these lines years ago. Regardless, victims of child abuse often wait many years to report it as they either try to repress the memories or simply try to cope with it on their own. They’re also often afraid of being called liars or taking on powerful institutions. The people who are saying this guy is a liar before he’s had his day in court have no idea what they’re talking about.

      Like I said, Singer could very well be innocent. Who knows. All I do know is that after reading quite a few stories on this today, it appears as though it should definitely go to court.

  2. Even though I don’t go out of my way to read about Hollywood pool parties, this was the first I heard of this…..Mel Gibson was (deservedly) slammed on every front page for his behavior a few years back. Double standard….?

    Everyone deserves their day in court, but this seems a nasty situation. Interesting cultural difference when the vice principal of the school of most of the kids that perished in the Korean ferry accident commits suicide because of feeling bad for something that wasn’t his fault; and this guy- if charges proven true- just goes about his business. Hollywood seems its own separate world.

    1. It’s funny you should mention Mel Gibson, Patrick. I wanted to pose the question: “What if Bryan Singer was a conservative Catholic director who was accused of rape”? I wasn’t sure how to really fit it into this post, but my guess is that the media attention would be out of this world.

      I’m waiting to see when Superhero Hype has a post on the rape accusations. Crickets are chirping right now.

    2. It really is disgusting how Hollywood celebrities and famous people in general can get away with things that normal people could not worm their way out of at all.

      I agree about the double standard. I haven’t seen anything about Singer in my local paper or even on the news…. I first learned of it from Hube at his blog.

    3. I wish Mel Gibson didn’t do those things, because I really liked his movies for the most part. Unfortunately he drove drunk, ranted like a loon, and said anti semetic things; on multiple occasions. In some ways he gets what’s coming to him, and now no one will even work with him. But if that’s the case, why does Woody Allen keep going or Chris Brown have a record contract? That’s the Hollywood double standard that gets annoying.

      I agree Carl, bad enough they get away with more, but they seem so casual about it. That’s why I brought up the Korean guy, not that I advocate suicide, but I certainly feel he was a good man at heart to apologize to the families (he apparently booked the trip for the kids) and then feel so bad he felt he didn’t deserve to live; though he had nothing to do with the accident. Contrast that with a few celebrities who celebrate their bad behavior with little or no remorse. Did Bieber even say “I’m sorry” for tearing down a residential street in a sports car high/drunk where he easily could of killed someone? Talk about a skewed moral compass!

  3. I like your idea of paying for a different film Doug.

    I am on honeymoon when the film comes out so I won’t have to make the decision just yet. However I pay a set price to see as many films as I want so I don’t have as big a dilemma.

    I don’t think it will hurt the film. A surprising number of people will be unaware of the issue and a large number just won’t care.

  4. Remember how the comic “professionals” reacted to Orson Scott Card and that dude who used to run the Dragon Con. Think they’ll protest similarly with regards to Singer?

    That said, innocent until proven guilty. But Hollywood, “progressive” creators, and the mainstream media, like with Roman Polanski, face a conundrum: Gays are a “historicaly oppressed minority,” and just like how race descriptions are nixed by newspapers’ crime report sections for fear of “perpetuating stereotypes,” not much will be covered/said about Singer, especially if it turns out to be true.

    1. It’s Saturday and still nothing from Superhero Hype. Yes, I know that reporting on rape accusations would not be “hyping” a movie, but if your site is dedicated to comic-inspired movies, then I would think that the responsible thing to do would be to have something on it.

    2. Yeah, you’d think they’d post something about it. I just went there and the only X-Men news that I could see was about Patrick Stewart hinting a possible return in “X-Men: Apocalypse.” What the hell?

      Like Hube said, because Singer is gay and they’re considered a “historically oppressed minority,” Hollywood, progressive creators and the MSM would do their best to downplay everything.

      My local newspaper is the same way, Hube: they rarely if ever include a description of a suspect’s race and rely on generic details like what they wear, how tall they are, how much they weigh, etc.

  5. The alleged victim in his 2000 and 2014 lawsuits, which are available as pdfs online, admits he was being paid approximately $2,100 a week, enough to hire a personal security guard if he felt threatened, yet his mother kept driving him back daily, and the two of them only complained after the money stopped. You quote the Daily Mail in your post. How about including an update with a link to their story exhonerating Singer:

    “X-Men director accused of sexually abusing teen claims he was filming when alleged attacks took place and he has evidence to prove it”
    “Credit card receipts, phone records and production schedules prove Singer was in Toronto filming X-Men, says the attorney.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2608059/Lawyer-Director-not-Hawaii-alleged-acts.html

    1. Thanks for the link, JC. As I’ve said, if Mr. Egan is lying, he should be punished for the pain and trouble that Mr. Singer will have went through. Regardless of how it pans out, I want justice to be served.

  6. I find the timing very telling. Right before his movie releases, a man comes forward claiming gay party rape. There are two things that immediately come to mind: 1. Innocent until proven guilty, and 2. Tawana Brawley. I’d rather wait for facts before getting my pitchfork out of the shed.

    1. Oh, and one more thing? These kids will do anything for their big break. They troll Hollywood parties, hoping for that, and will put up with just about any sleazy behavior, and their reward is cash, drugs, or that big break. Don’t get minority status confused with innocence. This story is only just beginning.

    2. Aaand… one more thing. As a female teenager, if you get invited to a party where you know there will be drugs, and you are made promises of those big acting breaks (which he admits were the draw), certain…. payments… were expected as part and parcel of the partying and promises. If this kid wasn’t aware of that, ANY woman could have clued him in. He at any time could have NOT gone to the parties. Personal responsibility has to come into play here. What could have possibly made him think these promises came without a price? And WHERE WERE HIS PARENTS?

    3. Rogue,

      While you do have a good point about his parents, I can’t help but cringe at the idea that — if he was raped — he bears responsibility for it. Unless the party was billed as “Come to Bryan Singer’s Pool Party and Get Raped,” I’m not even going to go down the “What could have possibly made him think these promises came without a price?” route. Ug.

    4. And the church thing… I am also a Catholic (a lapsed one now, thanks to the scandals), and I have not forgiven the church yet, simply because those priests were and are still being sheltered. How gay-party kid got where he is and how those other children got where they are are such an incredibly different path, I’m surprised you used that as a comparison. It’s apples and oranges.

    5. Rogue,

      Can you name me one organization that has 1.5 billion people in it that isn’t going to have some scandals? I’d be willing to bet that if the media actually did its job, you’d be paranoid about sending kids to public schools. I would also be willing to bet that pound-per-pound, the abuse inflicted upon children under the watchful eye of adults in Hollywood makes the Catholic Church like saintly (no pun intended).

      From the New York Post:

      More than 100 city teachers, administrators and other school staffers have been caught in the last five years engaging in sexual or “inappropriate” relationships with students, The Post has learned.

      The special commissioner of investigation for city schools, Richard Condon, has fielded 593 complaints about such illicit relationships since April 2009. His office substantiated 104 cases, it ­revealed Friday.

      “I’m absolutely stunned at that number,” said Laura Timoney, a Community Education Council member whose 15-year-old daughter attends a city high school on Staten Island. “It’s shocking, but what do you do to stop this?”

      Let’s go district by district and then add them up. If the media treated public school authorities like it did the Catholic church, you would never put you kid on a school bus. You wouldn’t let them leave the house.

    6. As I’ve stated in the piece, he is innocent until proven guilty. I also believe there is plenty here to warrant an investigation.

      If this man was raped and he wants to bring attention to a side of Hollywood only Corey Feldman has been willing to talk about, it would make sense to get as much publicity as possible. He may be using Hollywood’s own M.O. against it. Brilliant, in my opinion. We are now talking about Hollywood’s dirty little secret.

  7. Douglas, it’s so hard to describe the feelings that come with a moral dilemma. Yes, you did originally say innocent until proven guilty, but the stink of the accusation from this kid is going to still be there, even if it’s all proven to be a lie. So, did this boy ignore all common sense and literally go into the lion’s den? Probably. Does he have any culpability in this, or does any sense of responsibility go out the window because he’s 3 years under the age of legality?

    I would want to think that enough information about how “business” is done in that city that anyone would know beforehand how bad it gets and act accordingly. If you willingly put yourself in a position to be victimized and look for the fulfillment of a promised reward, does all the blame truly completely and utterly lie with the perpetrator? Again, where were this kid’s parents, the ones who really should have seen this scenario as a trap for the unwary? Why didn’t they protect their child?

    And it may be a sign of my own character that I can’t help but wonder: did this kid come forward now because it’s in his best interest to get the best press, ie: his 15 minutes of fame, in order to kickstart his career? Is he truly traumatized, or is it an act from an aspiring actor? It’s absolutely sickening to see this kind of thing happening, be it either real or falsified. Hollywood is the place where you go to sell your soul.

    As for the accused, the directors and producers of Hollywood have long considered themselves above reproach. If proven, this thing could be the start of breaking their unique power hold in that town. It’d be the first step, and a correct one, in my opinion.

    And the church has simply destroyed my trust. No more, and no less. I admire what the pope is trying to do, but that’s as far as it goes until these priests are made to face Man’s Law as well as Catholic Law. I was taught from the beginning that priests were anointed by God as his instruments on Earth. A holy vessel, speaking His Word. I cannot abide this abomination of His intent, and cannot return to the fold until it is fixed. I wish you the best in deciding what is best for you and yours. We all have had to decide our own path during this breach in our church.

  8. The schools never had my trust at all. 🙂 And as long as my kid didn’t tell me that things were wonky, I had to let them do their jobs. Seemed to work out ok, but I guess I didn’t have the predatory kind of teachers watching over my kid. And for that I thank God too. 🙂

  9. And no, I am not victim blaming. Rape is rape is rape, and should be punished. I am, however, wondering if he knew what was expected of him beforehand, and at what point did he decide to take off his trunks and join the pool party rather than use his feet and leave.

  10. I have never been a fan of Singer’s style as a director. X-Men and X-Men 2 were the last X-Men films I saw at the box office and I didn’t really think much of those.

    For me I’m very much old school and I guess I tend to use my 5,000 + comic book collection as a benchmark to measure these films by. Suffice to say that I don’t think much of any of the Fox adaptations or even Sony for that matter.

    I don’t mind minor adjustments with movie adaptations but I just about loathe alternate reimaginings.

    Anyway, I have seen subsequent X-Men films on DVD and thought the best thing about “First Class” was the acting between James McAvoy & Michael Fassbender. Other than that I don’t see them as authentic X-Men films at all.

    This latest accusation against Singer doesn’t look good and may hurt the movie’s box office receipts. I saw the trailer for “Days of Future Past” at the cinema last week at “The Winter Soldier” screening and again wasn’t impressed. I know I’m fairly cynical, but it didn’t engage me with any familiarity or connection other than the usual spectacular aesthetics often seen in a trailer.

    I’ve been reading newspaper reviews here on “Amazing Spider-Man 2” and they are less than favorable. One reviewer labelled the film as “It’s all fun and games until someone falls into a tank full of electric eels” and “But the real villian of this piece is all the screwball goofing around in the film’s first half – a level of humor which probably hit its peak in 1954.

    It’s pretty harsh but I did enjoy the trailer a lot more than the X-Men one, but again it’ll probably be a DVD viewing unless my kids really want to see at the cinema.

    I did however thoroughly enjoy “The Winter Soldier”. Despite any political assertions it may have had, I thought Joe & Anthony Russo did an amazing job directing an action packed thriller. It was an intense ride and the film’s pace was very well executed.

    I actually loved “The Winter Soldier” more than the “Avengers”, “Incredible Hulk” & “Iron Man 1”. I will even dare to say that IMO, I think it’s Marvel Studios best film to date. I will definitely see it again at the cinema.

    1. For me I’m very much old school and I guess I tend to use my 5,000 + comic book collection as a benchmark to measure these films by. Suffice to say that I don’t think much of any of the Fox adaptations or even Sony for that matter. …

      I did however thoroughly enjoy “The Winter Soldier”. Despite any political assertions it may have had, I thought Joe & Anthony Russo did an amazing job directing an action packed thriller. It was an intense ride and the film’s pace was very well executed.

      I’d agree with you here. It’s hard because I want to be appreciative that they’re actually making decent superhero movies, but at the same time hold them accountable for … consistently churning out a product that doesn’t live up to expectations. I think when people compare a ‘Winter Soldier’ with, say, Amazing Spider-Man, they can see that one is clearly a cut above the other. With Marvel, the producers, writers, directors and everyone down the line seems to truly care about putting forth a good product (even if it doesn’t always work out that way). With Fox and Sony, I get the feeling that you’ll often have writers or directors who care … but the studio is indifferent to the characters. Fox and Sony just see dollar signs, and as a result the product suffers. If you do the character justice the money will come. I’m not sure what’s so hard to understand about that.

      Again, the last Amazing Spider-Man did well, but I don’t believe it did anything like ‘Winter Soldier’ numbers. I find that odd.

      The studio that should really feel ashamed is Warner Bros. Marvel has a ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ movie before DC could get a Justice League flick to the big screen. Ouch.

    1. If Marvel knocks it out of the park with ‘Guardians,’ Warner Bros. and DC should hand their heads in shame. I looks like the action will be pretty cool, but I’m a little suspect about the humor from what I’ve seen in the trailer. We’ll see. I hope it succeeds.

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