The fallout from this week’s story in The Atlantic detailing new accusations of sexual abuse against director Bryan Singer hasn’t been as immediate as allies may have hoped. Singer is still attached to Red Sonja, after all, and is expected to get a $10 million paycheck for the picture. However, media watchdog group GLAAD has decided to take its own stand against the filmmaker, denying his Freddie Mercury biopic, Bohemian Rhapsody, nominations for its 30th Annual GLAAD Media Awards.
On paper, Bohemian Rhapsody should have been a shoe in for GLAAD’s Outstanding Film — Wide Release category. Despite a somewhat lackluster critical response, the movie has already won the Golden Globe for Best Picture and was recently nominated for an Oscar. GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) itself praised the film for it’s depiction of Mercury, an LGBTQ icon.
Now, though, the organization has issued a public castigation against Singer by denying the film consideration for Best Picture. “In light of the latest allegations against director Bryan Singer, GLAAD has made the difficult decision to remove Bohemian Rhapsody from contention for a GLAAD Media Award in the Outstanding Film – Wide Release category this year,” the organization told Variety. “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.”
The story that GLAAD is referring to stems from an exhaustive year-long investigation and over 50 sources. In the piece, four men raised new allegations against Singer involving sexual abuse, misconduct, and statutory rape. Singer, who is no stranger to such accusations, responded by calling the article “a homophobic smear piece” and implying that another publication had rejected the story due to “the lack of credible sources.”
“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 retorted.
The watchdog group’s statement continued:
“The team that worked so hard on Bohemian Rhapsody as well as the legacy of Freddie Mercury deserve so much more than to be tainted in this way. Bohemian Rhapsody brought the story of LGBTQ icon Freddie 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. The impact of the film is undeniable. 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.
Other films that involve Singer now or in the future should take note of the backlash to The Atlantic story and other previous allegations. The industry cannot let those who perpetuate harms against anyone – especially vulnerable young people – go unnoticed or unchecked any longer.”
Instead of the Queen movie, GLAAD’s Outstanding Film — Wide Release nominees include Blockers, Crazy Rich Asians, Deadpool 2, The Girl in the Spider’s Web, and Love, Simon. There’s also the Outstanding Film — Limited Release category, which sees a wider field of 1985, Boy Erased, Can You Ever Forgive Me?, Disobedience, The Favourite, Hearts Beat Loud, A Kid Like Jake, The Miseducation of Cameron Post, Saturday Church, and We the Animals vying for a win. Winners will be announced at the March 28th ceremony in Los Angeles.
Due to on-set issues involving Singer’s apparent absence from work and disagreements with the movie’s cast, as well as an illness in Singer’s family, the director was fired from Bohemian Rhapsody before filming was completed. However, due to DGA rules, he retained sole directing credits on the feature. Many involved in the movie, including star Rami Malek and Queen’s Brian May, have spoken in somewhat tacit terms in defense of Singer.