“Bohemian Rhapsody” director Bryan Singer has agreed to pay $150,000 to settle a rape accusation. The filmmaker continues to deny any wrongdoing, however, saying the settlement was born of a financial calculation and not an admission of guilt
Cesar Sanchez-Guzman accused Singer in a 2017 lawsuit of raping him at a yacht party in 2003. Sanchez-Guzman said he was 17 at the time; Singer, who’d already made a name for himself in Hollywood directing such hit films as “X-Men” and “The Usual Suspects,” was in his late 30s.
The suit alleged that Singer forced Sanchez-Guzman to perform oral sex on him before raping the teen. Singer later “approached Cesar and told him that he was a producer in Hollywood and that he could help Cesar get into acting as long as Cesar never said anything about the incident,” the complaint read. “He then told Cesar that no one would believe him if he ever reported the incident, and that he could hire people who are capable of ruining someone’s reputation.”
Singer has denied the allegations. His attorney Andrew Brettler told Variety in a statement on Wednesday that Singer “has denied even knowing this individual, let alone allegedly having interacted with him more than 15 years ago.”
Brettler said the director had only agreed to pay a settlement for “business” reasons after Sanchez-Guzman’s personal bankruptcy case became intertwined with his lawsuit against Singer.
Sanchez-Guzman filed for bankruptcy in 2014. As Variety noted, a bankruptcy trustee reopened the case last year because, she said, Sanchez-Guzman hadn’t listed his lawsuit against Singer and the potential proceeds from the case as a potential asset.
Citing court records, the Los Angeles Times reported that Singer had agreed ― pending approval by the bankruptcy court ― to give Sanchez-Guzman $150,000, an amount that would go toward paying off his creditors and covering administrative costs.
The creditors will receive about $61,000, Variety said. Most of this debt involved student loans.
Singer’s attorney said that “the decision to resolve the matter with the bankruptcy trustee was purely a business one, as litigation costs would well exceed the amount requested by the trustee to pay off the creditors who were owed money when the debtor filed for bankruptcy.” Singer maintains his innocence, the lawyer said.
Sanchez-Guzman is one of several people who have accused Singer of sexual misconduct.
An investigation by The Atlantic published in January told the stories of four men who said Singer sexually assaulted them when they were teenagers.
The article described Singer as a “troubled man” who preyed upon “vulnerable teenage boys, many of them estranged from their families.” The victims’ accounts, it said, “suggest that Singer didn’t act alone; he was aided by friends and associates who brought him young men. And he was abetted, in a less direct way, by an industry in which a record of producing hits confers immense power.”
Singer later dismissed the article as a “homophobic smear piece.”