Director Bryan Singer to settle sexual assault lawsuit for $200,000

A poster for the film Bohemian Rhapsody, which Singer directed, is displayed at a movie theatre in Beijing.
A poster for the film Bohemian Rhapsody, which Singer directed, is displayed at a movie theatre in Beijing.PHOTO: AFP

NEW YORK (NYTIMES) - Bryan Singer, the director who worked on Bohemian Rhapsody and several X-Men films, will pay US$150,000 (S$200,000) to resolve a claim that he sexually assaulted a 17-year-old boy at a party in 2003.

In a lawsuit filed in December 2017, Cesar Sanchez-Guzman said he met Singer in Seattle at a yacht party, where he said Singer offered to show him around before closing them into a bedroom and demanding sex.

When Sanchez-Guzman refused, the lawsuit said, Singer sexually assaulted him.

The settlement agreement was proposed in Seattle's bankruptcy court, where Sanchez-Guzman filed for bankruptcy in 2014.

According to the agreement, his claim against Singer was not listed as an asset in the filing for his bankruptcy case, which was closed in 2014.

The court reopened the bankruptcy case several months after the assault lawsuit was filed.

Under the terms of the settlement, which the bankruptcy court still must approve, the allegation against Singer - who denied the claim - will be dismissed once he pays Sanchez-Guzman US$150,000.

Sanchez-Guzman's bankruptcy trustee, Nancy James, said in a motion that certain issues in the case "favour settlement," including the statute of limitations on the allegation and the lack of evidence to show Singer was at the yacht party.

"Mr Singer has denied even knowing this individual, let alone allegedly having interacted with him more than 15 years ago," Singer's lawyer said in a statement.

"The decision to resolve the matter with the bankruptcy trustee was purely a business one, as litigation costs would well exceed the amount requested by the trustee to pay off the creditors who were owed money when the debtor filed for bankruptcy."

In 2017, a representative for Singer said he would "pursue his own claims for malicious prosecution" once the case had concluded.

It is unclear if such a claim would be possible under the terms of the settlement agreement.

Days before the 2017 lawsuit was filed, Singer, who also directed Superman Returns, was fired from Bohemian Rhapsody with two weeks of filming left for absences on set.

Though Singer remained credited as the director of the film, he went notably unmentioned in award-season speeches as the movie picked up several prizes.

Four other men accused Singer of sexually assaulting them in an article published in The Atlantic earlier this year.