Victor Valdovinos accused “Bohemian Rhapsody” director Bryan Singer of groping him on the set of “Apt Pupil” in 1998, according to an Atlantic feature. The article was published online on January 23 and will appear in the magazine’s March edition.
In December 2017, Singer was fired from the Oscar-nominated Freddie Mercury biopic, two weeks before production ended. He is still credited as the director. Singer was not nominated for an Academy Award, the film was nominated for five.
The Atlantic article is based on 50 sources and was conducted over the course of a year. The piece was penned by Alex French and Maximillian Potter.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Valdovinos Says He Was a 13-Year-Old Extra on ‘Apt Pupil’ When Singer Fondled Him
The Atlantic article details the alleged abuse that Valdovinos suffered on the set of Singer’s 1998 movie, “Apt Pupil.” Valdovinos was 13 years old at the time. He says that Singer “fondled his genitals.” Valdovinos said that he couldn’t bring himself to watch the movie but his brother, Edgar, did. Edgard told Valdovinos that he didn’t appear on the screen.
There are three other men quoted in the article, they are identified by the pseudonyms Andy, Eric and Ben. Andy said he had sex with Singer when he was 15. Eric says that he was 15 when he had sex with Singer. While Ben says Singer “would stick his hands down your pants without your consent. He was predatory in that he would ply people with alcohol and drugs and then have sex with them… it wasn’t a hold-you-down-and-rape-you situation.” Singer’s attorney, Andrew Brettler, has denied the claims made in the article.
2. Valdovinos Said that Singer Approached Him in the Bathroom of Eliot Middle School in Altadena, California
Singer was filming “Apt Pupil” at Eliot Middle School in Altadena, just northeast of Los Angeles. Valdovinos told the Atlantic that the director approached him in a bathroom of the school. Valdovinos said Singer said to him, “You’re so good-looking. What are you doing tomorrow? Maybe I could have somebody contact you about putting you in the movie.”
Shortly afterward, Singer says that he was asked to wear a towel for a locker room scene. Valdovinos describes the scene saying that Singer greeted him at the scene in a “cheerful” manner. The accuser says that he was asked to wait in an area of the locker room. He says that every now and then, Singer would come by to check on him, telling him the shoot would take all day.
Eventually, Singer came through and Valdovinos says that the director put his hands on Valdovinos’ genitals, underneath his towel. Valdovinos says Singer started masturbating him while Singer touched his own genitals. Valdovinos quotes Singer as saying, “You’re so good-looking… I really want to work with you… I have a nice Ferrari… I’m going to take care of you.” The Atlantic report says that Singer did drive a Ferrari at the time and that Valdovinos’ description of the movie set matches under descriptions.
Singer’s lawyer told the Atlantic that there is no record of Valdovinos having been an extra. While Valdovinos’ father remembered dropping his son off that day and said that he wondered if his son would become an actor.
3. Valdovinos’ High School Football Career Was Covered by the Los Angeles Times in 2000
Valdovinos told the Los Angeles Times in 2000 that he dropped out of high school when he was 17 after his girlfriend became pregnant. At the time, Valdovinos had been a football standout at North Hollywood High School. Valdovinos told the Times that he worked at a fast food restaurant and a deli, where he saw people pay more for a sandwich than he made in an hour.
Eventually, Valdovinos returned to school, to a continuation school, which would have allowed him to play football for North Hollywood. The Times reports that Valdovinos had been an All-League middle linebacker and offensive tackle. Valdovinos told the Times that his daughter, Athena, was 3 months old and was living with her mother.
4. Valdovinos Spent a Year in Prison on Domestic Battery Charges
Valdovinos told the Atlantic that he has spent a year in prison on domestic battery and drug possession charges. His career has been described as losing “one job after another.” Valdovinos pondered to the magazine, “What if he never did this to me would I be a different person? Would I be more successful? Would I be married? Valdovinos also said that he had approached Singer’s lawyer looking for a settlement in exchange for staying silent, he received no reply. Valdovinos also said that he had been inspired to come forward by those who had come forward with harrowing stories of alleged abuse conducted by Harvey Weinstein.
5. Singer Said in an October 2018 Instagram Post That Esquire Was Writing a Negative Article About Him
On October 15, Singer wrote in an Instagram post, “In today’s climate where people’s careers are being harmed by mere accusations, what Esquire is attempting to do is a reckless disregard for the truth, making assumptions that are fictional and irresponsible.” According to his IMDb page, Singer is next scheduled to direct “Red Sonja,” a comic book adaptation for Millenium Films.
The first allegation against Singer came in 2014 when Michael Egan sued Singer claiming the director had raped him in Hawaii in 1999. Egan’s lawsuit was later dropped.
Another man, Cesar Sanchez-Guzman, says that Singer raped him in 2003 on a yacht. Sanchez-Guzman is quoted in the Atlantic article as saying, “The industry will brush things under the rug and pretend nothing happened. Most people don’t see the truth.”
Sanchez-Guzman is being represented by attorney Jeff Herman in his lawsuit. On his Instagram bio, Bryan Singer links to a Hollywood Reporter article about Herman. The piece says that Herman was once accused of rape. Herman has denied those allegations.