The Atlantic’s investigation into a series of sexual assault allegations against Bryan Singer may have cost Bohemian Rhapsody a major accolade: The film is no longer in the running for a 2019 GLAAD Media Award.
The story, published in print and online on January 23, included a series of disturbing interviews with a number of the openly gay director’s alleged victims. Some claimed they were underage or barely of-age at the time Singer assaulted them. The piece painted a horrifying portrait of “a troubled man who surrounded himself with vulnerable teenage boys”—and generated an intense response on social media.
Reps from GLAAD released a statement on the evening of January 24, explaining how the team came to the “difficult decision” to drop Bohemian Rhapsody:
In light of the latest allegations against director Bryan Singer, GLAAD has made the difficult decision to remove Bohemian Rhapsody from contention for a GLAAD Media Award in the Outstanding Film – Wide Release category this year. This week’s story in The Atlantic documenting unspeakable harms endured by young men and teenage boys brought to light a reality that cannot be ignored or even tacitly rewarded. Singer’s response to The Atlantic story wrongfully used ‘homophobia’ to deflect from sexual assault allegations and GLAAD urges the media and the industry at large to not gloss over the fact that survivors of sexual assault should be put first.
The Queen biopic, which stars Rami Malek as iconic frontman Freddie Mercury and broke major records at the box office, was directed by Singer. That is, until Singer reportedly feuded with Malek on set and was fired from the project.
GLAAD did acknowledge the film’s impact in honoring the legacy of “LGBTQ icon Freddie Mercury”:
The team that worked so hard on Bohemian Rhapsody as well as the legacy of Freddie Mercury deserve so much more than to be tainted in this way. Bohemian Rhapsody brought the story of LGBTQ icon Freddie Mercury to audiences around the world, many of whom never saw an out and proud lead character in a film or saw the impact of HIV and AIDS in fair and accurate ways. The impact of the film is undeniable. We believe, however, that we must send a clear and unequivocal message to LGBTQ youth and all survivors of sexual assault that GLAAD and our community will stand with survivors and will not be silent when it comes to protecting them from those who would do them harm.
GLAAD added that other films involving Singer now or in the future should consider his backlash to the exposé and other accusations from alleged survivors: “The industry cannot let those who perpetuate harms against anyone—especially vulnerable young people—go unnoticed or unchecked any longer.”
On Twitter, Time’s Up also chimed in:
The recent allegations regarding Bryan Singer’s behavior are horrifying and MUST be taken seriously and investigated. pic.twitter.com/twqwbO2TJp
— TIME'S UP (@TIMESUPNOW) January 24, 2019
The GLAAD Media Awards aim to honor media for fair, accurate, and inclusive representations of LGBTQ people and issues that accelerate acceptance. The list of nominees for this year’s awards will be announced via livestream on GLAAD’s Facebook page Friday, January 25.