The Atlantic on Wednesday published a lengthy article based on a 12-month investigation. It details the stories of four alleged victims who said they were seduced and molested by the Bohemian Rhapsody director while underage.
Three of the men spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Victor Valdovinos said he was molested by Singer on the set of 1998’s Apt Pupil when he was in the seventh grade.
“Every time he had a chance—three times—he would go back there [the locker room where Singer allegedly asked him to remain]… He was always touching my chest,” Valdovinos told The Atlantic.
The director eventually “grabbed my genitals and started masturbating it” and “rubbed his front part on me,” Valdovinos said, adding, “He did it all with this smile.”
In a statement, Singer denounced the report as a “homophobic smear piece.”
“The last time I posted about this subject, Esquire magazine was preparing to publish an article written by a homophobic journalist who has a bizarre obsession with me dating back to 1997. After careful fact-checking and, in consideration of the lack of credible sources, Esquire chose not to publish this piece of vendetta journalism. That didn’t stop this writer from selling it to The Atlantic. It’s sad that The Atlantic would stoop to this low standard of journalistic integrity. Again, I am forced to reiterate that this story rehashes claims from bogus lawsuits filed by a disreputable cast of individuals willing to lie for money or attention. And it is no surprise that, with Bohemian Rhapsody being an award-winning hit, this homophobic smear piece has been conveniently timed to take advantage of its success.”
Seriously, Bryan. A “homophobic smear piece?” Girl, please.
The authors of the Atlantic article, Alex French and Maximillian Potter, spoke to 50 sources over the course of a 12-month investigation.
“The accusations against Singer cover a spectrum,” French and Potter report. “Some of the alleged victims say they were seduced by the director while underage; others say they were raped. The victims we interviewed told us these experiences left them psychologically damaged, with substance-abuse problems, depression, and PTSD.”
French and Potter are both affiliated with Esquire, French as a writer at large and Potter as the editor at large.
In their own statement on Wednesday, the writers said that Hearst Communications, which owns Esquire, had killed the piece.
“We have been asked why a story reported and written by two Esquire writers is being published in the Atlantic. This story began with our editors at Esquire. After months of reporting, the story went through Esquire’s editorial process, which included fact-checking and vetting by a Hearst attorney, and the story was approved for publication. The story was then killed by Hearst executives. We do not know why. We feel fortunate that the Atlantic decided to work with us, and we are grateful that the piece has gone through the Atlantic’s thoughtful editorial process, which included another rigorous fact-check and robust legal vetting. We are most grateful that the alleged victims now have a chance to be heard and we hope the substance of their allegations remains the focus.”