A man who claims he was sexually abused by X-Men franchise director Bryan Singer said Thursday that he reported the molestation to authorities at the time, and does not know why charges were never pursued.
With his voice occasionally wavering, Michael Egan III described abuse he said began when he was 15 years old at the hands of Singer and others. He described being plied with drugs and promises of Hollywood fame while also enduring threats and sexual abuse in Hawaii and Los Angeles over several years.
“You were a piece of meat,” Egan said of how he and other teenage boys were viewed at the home where he claims Singer abused him.
Egan sued Singer on Wednesday and is seeking more than $75,000 (Dh275,480) on each of four accusations: intentional infliction of emotional distress, battery, assault and invasion of privacy.
Los Angeles Police Commander Andrew Smith said the department is looking into whether a report was made. A phone message left for an FBI spokeswoman was not immediately returned.
Singer’s attorney has called the claims absurd and defamatory.
“It is obvious that this case was filed in an attempt to get publicity at the time when Bryan’s new movie is about to open in a few weeks,” said Marty Singer, who said he is not related to the director.
Singer is the director of the upcoming film X-Men: Days of Future Past and directed previous films in the franchise, as well as the thriller The Usual Suspects.
“These are serious allegations, and they will be resolved in the appropriate forum,” 20th Century Fox, the distributor of Singer’s latest film, wrote in a statement. “This is a personal matter, which Bryan Singer and his representatives are addressing separately.”
The lawsuit was filed in Hawaii, and is possible because of a state law that temporarily suspends the statute of limitations in sex abuse cases. Egan’s lawyer Jeff Herman said on Thursday that he planned to file additional lawsuits in Hawaii against other Hollywood figures he said were responsible for abusing underage teens. The attorney would not say who else he planned to sue.
The lawsuit claims Egan was lured into a sex ring run by a former digital entertainment company executive, Marc Collins-Rector, with promises of auditions for acting, modelling and commercial jobs. He was put on the company’s payroll as an actor, but forced to have sex with adult men at parties within Hollywood’s entertainment industry, the lawsuit said.
Bryan Singer attended several of the parties and forced Egan into sex, giving him drugs and threatening Egan when he resisted advances, the lawsuit states.
Egan said he spent several years masking his pain by drinking. He stopped drinking within the last year, entered therapy, and sought out a lawyer who would pursue a case against the director.
“I hope to help a lot of other people,” Egan said. “No one at a young age ever deserves to go through the horrific junk I went through as a kid.”
Los Angeles court records show that Michael Egan and two other men sued Collins-Rector in 2000 and were granted a default judgment the following year. The case file was not available Thursday.
He could not explain why his attorney at the time didn’t include Singer in that case.
Herman has made a career of representing victims of sex abuse, filing lawsuits against organizations such as the Roman Catholic Church and Boy Scouts of America. In 2011, Herman won a $100 million verdict against a Catholic priest who was accused of molesting dozens of boys.