Garth Ancier, the media executive who was accused last year of sexual abuse along with other Hollywood figures, is calling for legal reforms after getting swept up in a case he says was “fueled by homophobia.”
In an op-ed in the Huffington Post, Ancier wrote that he found himself unemployable and his reputation “vaporized.”
“Egan’s cases against me and three others were announced at white hot press conferences bristling with television cameras and mostly uncritical reporters who watched Egan’s mother erupt in tears and vow to ‘disarm the predators,'” Ancier wrote. “Fueled by homophobia, the salacious lawsuits ignited a firestorm at the toxic intersection of a ponderous legal system and a click-bait inflected media culture.”
Last year, Michael Egan claimed he was sexually abused as an aspiring teenage actor. At a press conference, he first accused director Bryan Singer, and several days later named three others, including Ancier. But his case quickly began to unravel, and he eventually dropped his lawsuits and parted ways with his attorney, Jeff Herman.
Herman and another attorney, Mark Gallagher, issued apologies to Ancier and David Neuman, acknowledging the allegations were untrue. They also reached a seven figure settlement. Ancier is pursuing a malicious prosecution case against Egan, who plead guilty in April to unrelated fraud charges.
“From the start, the allegations — that I had drugged and raped a then-17 year-old named Michael Egan in Hawaii in 1999 — were absurd: I wasn’t in Hawaii 15 years ago and could prove it,” Ancier wrote. “In fact, neither was Egan. And although I do business with steely resolve, in my personal life I’m mild mannered and perhaps even boring.”
Ancier is calling for reforms to the legal system, including that “attorneys in sexual misconduct cases should be required to contact the accused or his lawyers before filing suit and exchanging evidence.” He also wrote that “all states should adopt the California requirement that defendants in sexual abuse cases be granted anonymity until and unless a judge finds merit in the case.”
He also called for prohibiting press conferences and news releases as judges determine the merits of a case.
“As my nightmare ends, I’m finally free of its grip, but the scars on my psyche and good name will remain for the rest of my life,” Ancier wrote. “Perhaps with well-chosen reforms, it won’t have to happen to anyone else.”