GONNA BRING UP SINGER’S SEXUAL ABUSE ALLEGATIONS, SO CONTENT WARNING RIGHT UP FRONT
Surprise, the decision to review trilogies/quadrilogies was thought up so I could rewatch and talk about the X-Men films. I’ve been a huge fan since I was a kid and these movies are near and dear to my heart (now that joke at the beginning of the Cube review makes sense). So why didn’t I start with the X-Men trilogy? Well… I needed some time to collect my thoughts on how to talk about movies I love being made by a sexual predator. Sorry, ALLEGED sexual predator. So here we are, talking about Bryan Singer instead of trying to talk around him.
Singer has had several allegations made against him, and just about every one of them allege that he forced himself on minors. Accusations of misconduct go as far back as the late 90’s, but it’s only recently that the weight of it all has actually had repercussions. I do need to specify that no charges have stuck, and for some that’s enough to say he’s innocent; but if it were enough for me, we wouldn’t be here. I won’t say for sure that he’s guilty, but settling abuse allegations out of court–the thing he did with the 2017 accusation–absolutely fucking stinks to me, coming off as, “I have enough money to avoid consequences.”
One thing we do know for sure is that he has a fair number of friends who are awful people. Singer was close friends with Marc Collins-Rector, Chad Shackley, and Brock Pierce. The three had a civil suit filed against them by Alexander Burton, the young actor who played Pyro in the original X-Men movie. Burton alleged that the trio sexually assaulted him for the duration of filming the movie. While that case did not produce convictions, Collins-Rector later plead guilty to eight charges of child enticement and registered as a sex offender. In 2006 he petitioned the US courts to let him visit the UK for brain cancer treatment, where he disappeared and has been on the run ever since. Meanwhile, Shackley has largely stayed out of the public (information is hard to come on him), but Pierce is an infamous figure: a child actor in The Mighty Ducks, he would found one of the first gold farming companies (where Steve Bannon worked for a time), and he’s dodged several more accusations. Singer was also friends with Gary Goddard, who has also been accused of molesting minors. Goddard was reportedly invited to the set while filming X2.
All of this culminated with Singer being fired from directing Bohemian Rhapsody. Just kidding! He was fired for unprofessional conduct, which has been a trend for decades. The meme phrase, “Kiss my black ass!” was actually said to him by Halle Berry during an incident while filming X-Men. He was, however, dropped from the Red Sonja movie because of the piling accusations.
So, where does this leave us? Innocence until proven guilty is still in effect, but the amount of allegations (and a bit of guilt by association for hanging out with so many people also accused of the same crime) leave me feeling uncomfortable about him, and by proxy, his movies. But where I refuse to review any of the Jeepers Creepers movies because the director, Victor Salva, is a convicted pedophile, those films don’t have the same impact as X-Men. I’ve been a fan of X-Men since I was a small child, and these movies meant the world to me when they first came out. So I do want to talk about them; talk about what works, what doesn’t, and what laid the groundwork for things like the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But if I just avoided talking about Singer’s allegations, I’d feel like I was intentionally sidestepping them.
So here we are: Bryan Singer may be an absolute garbage person, but for the sake of brevity, I call for an element of death of the author. We remember not to idolize him while discussing his works, but look for where his worldviews are impossible to ignore and point them out. If all this is too much for you and you want to avoid the next week or so, I understand and hope to see you on the other side of these films. For the rest, see you tomorrow when I tackle the X-Men.
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