Film students launched a petition on Change.org, which has garnered more than 1,500 signatures at press time in support of dismissing Singer’s name.
The petition, created by Emily Halaka, says having Singer’s name attached to the film school “gives the impression that we, both as an institution and as members of the entertainment industry, value his financial contributions over the safety, respect and future of students. It sets a precedent of lenience for sexual criminals and further undermines the visibility and respect that victims of harassment and assault deserve.”
Bryan Singer and his lawyer, Marty Singer (no relation), have repeatedly denied all allegations of wrongdoing.
In a statement to Variety, the USC School of Cinematic Arts said, “We are aware of the Change.org petition and appreciate the concerns of our students and alumni. We want to assure them that we are taking this matter very seriously and are monitoring the situation.”
Students applauded USC and the School of Cinematic Arts for refusing Harvey Weinstein’s donations following the disgraced mogul’s own firestorm of sexual harassment and assault allegations, but say the name change regarding Singer is overdue.
“It is a gross administrative error that it has been allowed to remain. It is only consistent with our institutional morality to make this change,” the petition states.
Singer has had a number of allegations brought up against in him in recent years. A sexual abuse suit was dropped by accuser Michael Egan in August 2014, four months after Egan accused Singer of abusing him when the aspiring actor and model was a minor in the late 1990s.
A second accuser filed a lawsuit against Singer in 2014. In the lawsuit, the man claimed when he was 17, Singer tried to force him to have sex. Singer denied the allegations, and the accuser later voluntarily dismissed the case.
Jessica Chastain recently brought attention back to Singer’s past allegations. The actress is set to star in the next installment of the X-Men franchise, “X-Men: Dark Phoenix,” which Singer is signed to produce.
“I made a decision very early on to not work with people that I felt abused their positions, and didn’t create a healthy environment for those around them,” she told the Daily Beast before clarifying she didn’t work with Singer on set.
“I actually chose to do X-Men because I’m working with Simon Kinberg, who’s also a first-time filmmaker who I met on ‘The Martian,’ and is an incredible writer and producer,” Chastain said. “He wrote this script — which I can’t say much about, because it’s X-Men — and there are many powerful female roles in this story that Simon is telling.”
Variety has reached out to representatives for Bryan Singer for comment.
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