A Twitter user going by the name Justin Smith alleged out director Bryan Singer made unwanted sexual advances on him when he was underage.
In a massive, 14-tweet-long message sent on November 1, Smith claimed Singer asked to see his penis and “tried to shove his finger inside me.”
“He had his other hand clamped on my shoulder so I couldn’t immediately move away,” he wrote. “He penetrated me for a split second before I shoved him away.” When Smith told Singer he wanted to go home, the filmmaker allegedly told him “I’d better not tell anyone because no one would believe me anyway.” (You can read the full tweets here.)
Smith says he believes other claims of sexual assault against Singer and said he “would’ve loudly objected to what I saw happening.”
Since then, Smith’s Twitter account has been deactivated and a story about the accusations originally appearing on Yahoo News was taken down. But the charges received renewed attention when actress Jessica Chastain retweeted another story about them. (Chastain is actually working with Singer in the upcoming X-Men: Dark Phoenix.)
Let us not forget https://t.co/0TNDxl8h1Q
— Jessica Chastain (@jes_chastain) November 4, 2017
“I do not feel beholden to anything,” she told The Daily Beast. “I’m going to speak my mind about any injustice that I see. I’m not afraid of anything in terms of that… The greatest myth that an industry can create is to make people feel like they’re easily replaceable. I’m not going to allow that into my life.”
In 1997 Singer was accused of asking a 14-year-old extra and other minors to film a nude shower scene in Apt Pupil. An ensuing lawsuit was dismissed, though, as were two later sexual assault cases alleging Singer assaulted minors.
— Stephanie Tinsley (@AgentTinsley) October 30, 2017
In a controversial interview with Vulture last year, out Real O’Neals star Noah Galvin claimed Singer “likes to invite little boys over to his pool and diddle them in the fucking dark of night.” (Galvin later apologized to Singer and Vulture removed the quote, writing “this is a contentious issue, and after consideration, we decided to delete the reference.”)
But the renewed discussion about sexual predators in Hollywood has increased scrutiny: This week, students at the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts launched a petition to remove Singer’s name from from the school’s Division of Cinema and Media Studies.
“It is completely unacceptable that this prestigious department within our school still carries the name of Bryan Singer, a man accused multiple times of sexual harassment, assault, and pedophilia,” the petition reads in part.
USC recently refused a donation from Harvey Weinstein following allegations of his sexual misconduct. Singer transferred to USC’s film school from SVA in New York in the late ’80s.
“Our university should promote education, respect, and consent, as well as prepare its students to be model members of the USC and entertainment communities, and this continued relationship with Mr. Singer publicly negates those values.”
To date, the petition has garnered more than 1,200 signatures.