By Anne Thompson and Ryan Lattanzio | Thompson on Hollywood May 5, 2014 at 1:20PM
UPDATED: The Bryan Singer case continues to shake out. An anonymous UK citizen has lodged a new claim against Singer and Goddard Group CEO Gary Goddard alleging underage sexual abuse. He is represented by Jeff Herman, the same attorney who filed Michael Egan's recent suit against the "X-Men" director less than two weeks ago. The details of the new case, below, are seedy.
The suit alleges that in 2003, Goddard initiated nude web cams sessions with the plaintiff, 15 at the time. Nude photos were exchanged. According to the claimant, dubbed John Doe No. 117, Goddard got him drunk and had sex with him in a London hotel when he was 16, which is the age of consent in England. But the suit argues that California's age of consent, 18, also the federal age, applies here because Singer and Goddard initiated relations with the teen online while in California.
The plaintiff, then 17, also claims that Singer had sex with him at a "Superman Returns" after-party in Summer 2006. Allegedly the boy resisted Singer's advances, so Goddard brought in a "large, musclebound man" who roughed-up the teen before Singer attempted to rape him as Goddard, naked, watched.
According to the suit, filed Saturday in LA, the plaintiff pleads anonymity because "this case involves facts of the utmost intimacy regarding plaintiff's childhood sexual abuse, and plaintiff fears further psychological injury if his name were publicly disclosed."
Goddard's attorney Alan Grodin attributes these allegations as a kind of hive-minded hysteria, responding, "It is a shame that the specious claim made by Herman in the Egan case has resulted in this new claim that we note is over 10 years old. For now we will say the claims are denied and Gary will vigorously defend."
You can't make this stuff up. Or can you? Singer has yet to be served either suit.
EARLIER: Stories have long swirled around Bryan Singer about his taste in young men and erratic behavior on movie sets. Following production of the 1998 drama "Apt Pupil," civil suits were filed by underage extras who were forced to endure lengthy naked shower scenes --the cases were thrown out--and there were rumors about heavy partying with teenage boys.
And Singer has long endured a reputation for going AWOL during filming, especially during production on the 2006 reboot "Superman Returns." Ask ex-Warner Bros. chief Jeff Robinov what he thinks of working with Singer, who contributed to budget overruns that cost the studio profits. The studio did not plan for that iteration of the DC franchise to end there. It took years to redevelop another "Superman" movie: Zack Snyder's "Man of Steel" finally came out in 2013.
Word is that producer/writer Simon Kinberg helped to "enable" Singer to do his job on the upcoming "X-Men: Days of Future Past" (May 23) much the way producer Chris Lee ("Apt Pupil," "Superman Returns") did on other films. Kinberg has filled in on the promo trail for Singer, who has withdrawn from PR so as not to provide a distraction. Singer denies the sex abuse allegations.
The reason the recent case against Singer and three other Hollywood executives accused of drugging and raping teenage boys hinges on their presence in Hawaii --which they are all denying--is that in that state the statute of limitations has not yet run out.
Kim Masters in the Hollywood Reporter has rounded up more pertinent details about the past history of various allegations and lawsuits involving these principals.
Here's one telling graph:
Singer at times has been known to be troubled: Executives who have worked on his movies say the director was sometimes erratic, often complaining he was in pain, at times appearing "heavily medicated" and sometimes failing to appear on set. But it seems only on Singer's 2006 Warner Bros. film Superman Returns did these issues contribute to budget overages. There were widespread rumors that Singer's partying was part of the problem, but a friend who visited the set says that was not the issue. "There were times that production was interrupted or delayed," says this person, but the problem was Singer "battling his own demons" with respect to medication.
Read it and weep. Many Hollywood insiders believe that there is even more widespread abuse of vulnerable young actors by powerful industry players yet to be uncovered. Oscar-nominated documentarian Amy Berg ('Deliver Us from Evil") is tracking this unraveling story for an in-the-works documentary feature.