Variety on Thursday obtained a statement from Millennium Chairman and producer Avi Lerner that brushed off a report in the Atlantic in which the “Bohemian Rhapsody” director is accused of inappropriate groping and sexual relationships with four young men.
“The over $800 million ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ has grossed, making it the highest grossing drama in film history, is testament to his remarkable vision and acumen,” Lerner said. “I know the difference between agenda driven fake news and reality, and I am very comfortable with this decision. In America people are innocent until proven otherwise.”
The Atlantic article quoted a man who said he was a 13-year-old extra on the Singer film “Apt Pupil” when the director fondled his genitals without consent. One unidentified accuser alleged they had sex with Singer when they were under 18.
Singer has consistently denied misconduct, and called the Atlantic story “a homophobic smear piece” and asserted that it “rehashes claims from bogus lawsuits.” The story was published on Wednesday, a day after “Bohemian Rhapsody” received five Academy Award nominations including best picture for producer Graham King and actor for Rami Malek.
Also on Thursday, Variety learned that “Bohemian Rhapsody” would lose its GLAAD Award nomination over the new accusations against Singer.
Millennium signed Singer to “Red Sonja” in September after Singer received the directing credit for “Bohemian Rhapsody,” despite being replaced by Dexter Fletcher during the latter stages of the shoot in late 2017. Fletcher came on board to direct in December after Fox fired Singer from the project after repeated absences from the set had forced the studio to halt production.
Singer’s other directing credits include “The Usual Suspects,” “Superman Returns,” “X-Men,” “X-Men: Days of Future Past,” and “X-Men: Apocalypse.” He was also dropped as an executive producer on FX’s “Legion” last year in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations.
Millennium announced during the 2017 American Film Market that it was rebooting “Red Sonja” and was planning to finance and produce a new movie based on the female warrior. The film has not yet been cast. The 1985 film “Red Sonja” starred Brigitte Nielsen and Arnold Schwarzenegger. The character was introduced in 1934 in Robert E. Howard’s story “The Legend of the Vulture.”
Lerner is widely recognized as a maverick in the movie business who has been able to find financing through Millennium for the Expendables franchise, “The Hitman’s Bodyguard,” and “London Has Fallen.” Millennium, however, was hit with a lawsuit in 2017, alleging that the company fostered an environment that was demeaning to actresses and female employees. Singer was dropped by his agency, WME, last year.