'Bohemian Rhapsody' out as contender for GLAAD award
Posted January 25, 2019 5:13 a.m. EST
CNN — GLAAD has removed the Freddy Mercury biopic "Bohemian Rhapsody" from consideration for an Outstanding Film nomination after allegations of sexual misconduct were leveled against the film's director this week.
A story published in The Atlantic on Wednesday detailed four new allegations of sexual assault and misconduct against director Bryan Singer.
In a statement, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, a media monitoring organization, says the report of "unspeakable harms endured by young men and teenage boys brought to light a reality that cannot be ignored or even tacitly rewarded."
Representatives for Singer did not respond to CNN's request for comment on the film being withdrawn from consideration for the 30th annual GLAAD Media Awards.
The nominees are scheduled to be announced Friday morning.
But in response to the accusations, Singer said in a statement via a representative that the story was "written by a homophobic journalist who has a bizarre obsession with me dating back to 1997."
"It's sad that The Atlantic would stoop to this low standard of journalistic integrity," Singer said, claiming that the story lacked credible sources.
"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," the story's writers, Alex French and Maximillian Potter, 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," GLAAD said in a statement.
Two of the men in the story say they had sex with Singer when they were underage. Another man alleges a sexual encounter with Singer, but the man is unsure of his age at the time.
The Atlantic also spoke to an alleged victim named Victor Valdovinos, who says he was molested on the set of "Apt Pupil" by Singer in 1997, when Valdovinos was 13.
CNN has not independently identified the anonymous victims or been able to verify their claims.
CNN's attempts to reach Valdovinos have been unsuccessful.
Singer, through his attorney, claimed he did not know Valdovinos and denied the accusation, according to The Atlantic.
"Bohemian Rhapsody brought the story of LGBTQ icon Freddy Mercury to audiences around the world, many of whom never saw an out and proud lead character in a film or saw the impact of HIV and AIDS in fair and accurate ways," GLAAD said. "We believe, however, that we must send a clear and unequivocal message to LGBTQ youth and all survivors of sexual assault that GLAAD and our community will stand with survivors and will not be silent when it comes to protecting them from those who would do them harm."
The organization said that it regrets that rest of the team who worked on the film is suffering the consequences, but it hopes other films involving Singer consider the backlash.
"The industry cannot let those who perpetuate harms against anyone -- especially vulnerable young people -- go unnoticed or unchecked any longer," the statement said.