The Deeper Significance Of Bryan Singer's Firing

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Bryan Singer—a director with credits like X-Men, The Usual Suspects, and Superman Returnswas fired Monday from the upcoming Fox film Bohemian Rhapsody. He was dismissed from the biopic about the Queen singer Freddie Mercury (starring Mr. Robot’s Rami Malek) after he stopped reporting to set a week earlier, which initially prompted the studio to suspend production. But Fox is now looking for a new director to complete filming and oversee postproduction. The firing is the culmination of a long history of alleged unprofessionalism from Singer. Over his 20-year career, he’s been the subject of rumors detailing unannounced absences and friction with actors on the sets of multiple movies, as well as sexual-abuse allegations dating back to 1997.

Initial reports don’t indicate that Singer’s firing had to do with the latter issue. The director said in a statement that he was attempting to care for a parent with “pressing health matters” and that Fox hadn’t allowed him to take leave from the project. Fox stated only that Singer was “no longer” working on the movie. The filmmaker’s Hollywood career, regardless, may finally have hit a wall. For years, even his reputation for causing production troubles, and the far more disturbing reports of sexual misconduct, haven’t been enough to keep him from being hired for high-profile jobs. So it may seem surprising that Singer’s failure to show up on set ended up being the reason for his firing. But his dismissal appears to be another sign that studios are slowly starting to change their standards for powerful men, who have been insulated and protected by Hollywood until recently.

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Singer’s consistent presence atop the industry is a perfect example of Hollywood’s “white male privilege problem,” as the writer Ira Madison III noted in The Daily Beast. A broader culture of permissiveness has allowed influential men in entertainment to weather almost any scandal and continue to build their careers. There have been 10 X-Men films including Singer’s first in 2000; men have directed all of them, with Singer himself helming four and Brett Ratner (a man dogged by multiple accusations of sexual harassment) one. Hollywood has only grown more dependent on these big blockbusters, which are rarely ever directed by women and people of color, in part because studios keep rewarding filmmakers—like Singer—known for erratic workplace behavior or worse.

Twenty years ago, two separate lawsuits alleged that underage male actors were required to strip naked on the set of Singer’s 1998 film Apt Pupil for a shower scene; those suits were eventually dismissed for lack of evidence. Other allegations surfaced for Singer weeks before the release of X-Men: Days of Future Past in 2014. A 31-year-old actor named Michael Egan III claimed Singer, and a ring of other Hollywood power players, had groomed, given drugs to, and sexually abused him when he was between the ages of 15 and 17. Singer’s attorney called the accusations an “attempted shakedown,” and Singer himself called them “completely false.” Another similar charge soon followed from an anonymous British actor though that lawsuit was eventually dismissed; Singer’s lawyer called the claims totally untrue.”

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Source : https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2017/12/the-deeper-significance-of-bryan-singers-firing/547490/

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