NEW YORK (WP) - Was the latest "expose" of Bryan Singer's alleged sexual misconduct timed to ride on the news of Bohemian Rhapsody's nomination for best movie at next month's Oscars?
That is the suspicion of the movie director after the Atlantic published the story on Wednesday. Written by two Esquire reporters, it includes the accounts of four new accusers and follow several others that have surrounded Singer - known for directing multiple X-Men movies and Bohemian Rhapsody - for the past 20 years.
Singer claims that Esquire chose not to publish the article after "careful fact-checking" and due to "the lack of credible sources".
"Again, I am forced to reiterate that this story rehashes claims from bogus lawsuits filed by a disreputable cast of individuals willing to lie for money or attention," his statement reads.
"And it is no surprise that, with Bohemian Rhapsody being an award-winning hit, this... smear piece has been conveniently timed to take advantage of its success."
Though the article appeared in the Atlantic, it was written by two Esquire reporters, Alex French and Maximillian Potter.
"Some of the alleged victims say they were seduced... while underage; others say they were raped," they wrote.
French and Potter said their story ran in the Atlantic because Hearst, which owns Esquire, killed it even after it went through a full editorial process, which included fact-checking and a Hearst lawyer's approval.
The Atlantic ran the article a day after the Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody got the Oscar nod.
Twentieth Century Fox fired Singer from the project due to his unreliable behaviour in 2017, a few weeks before production on the film completed, and Dexter Fletcher took over.
But Singer still received the directing credit.