Millennium Films CEO and Red Sonja producer Avi Lerner released a statement Thursday confirming Singer’s involvement in the film, one day after The Atlantic published an exposé in which multiple men accused the director of having sex with them when they were under the age of consent.
“I continue to be in development for Red Sonja and Bryan Singer continues to be attached,” Lerner said in a statement obtained by EW. “The over $800 million Bohemian Rhapsody has grossed, making it the highest grossing drama in film history, is a testament to his remarkable vision and acumen. 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 guilty.”
Singer has been accused of sexual misconduct in the past, but The Atlantic’s article — the result of 12 months of investigation and interviews with more than 50 sources — includes four new allegations from men speaking out for the first time. Singer has denied the allegations in the Atlantic piece.
The article was published a day after the Rami Malek-starring biopic Bohemian Rhapsody received multiple Oscar nominations, including Best Picture. Singer was fired as the Freddie Mercury biopic’s director during production after an extended absence and was replaced by Dexter Fletcher.
Lerner, Millennium Films, and his company Nu Image were sued by a former Nu Image employee in 2017, alleging sexual harassment and gender discrimination. At the time, Lerner responded to the complaint by saying, “It’s all lies. It’s all a joke.”
Actor Terry Crews has also accused Lerner — who produced the Expendables films — of threatening him with “trouble” if he didn’t drop his lawsuit against WME agent Adam Venit, who Crews accused of groping him at an industry function in 2016.
Singer first signed on to Red Sonja last year, negotiating a reported payday of up to $10 million — even after Singer had already faced a lawsuit from a man who claimed the director raped him when he was 17 years old. The project has been billed as a “female-empowered” take on the comics character — who herself is a victim of sexual assault.
At the same time, GLAAD also announced that they would be removing Bohemian Rhapsody from contention for this year’s GLAAD Media Awards in light of the latest allegations.
“This week’s story in The Atlantic documenting unspeakable harms endured by young men and teenage boys brought to light a reality that cannot be ignored or even tacitly rewarded,” GLAAD said in a statement. “Singer’s response to The Atlantic story wrongfully used ‘homophobia’ to deflect from sexual assault allegations and GLAAD urges the media and the industry at large to not gloss over the fact that survivors of sexual assault should be put first.”
Time’s Up also released a statement on Twitter condemning Singer and Millennium’s decision to continue working with him, saying in part, “The recent allegations regarding Bryan Singer’s behavior are horrifying and MUST be taken seriously and investigated. Those who hire alleged abusers must recognize that these decisions not only subject their employees to possibly unsafe working conditions but also perpetuate a broken system that rewards powerful people and allows them to act without consequence.”