X-Men director Bryan Singer accused of 'emotional abuse' by assistant

Disgraced X-Men director Bryan Singer is accused of ’emotional abuse’ by ex-assistant who claims filmmaker got him drunk and had sex with him when he was just 18 – and left him with PTSD after years of ‘trauma’

  • Blake Stuerman, 30, shared details of his allegedly ‘traumatizing’ sexual relationship with Singer in an essay published by Variety 
  • He claimed he was 18 and Singer was 43 when the filmmaker got him drunk and had sex with him the first time, saying he didn’t know he ‘was allowed to say no’
  • Stuerman noted that he was ‘stick thin’ and ‘looked no older than 15’ at the time
  • He later learned that Singer ‘had a reputation for liking very young-looking men’ 
  • The former assistant, who wanted to work in the film industry, alleged that Singer became his mentor, but ‘began to expect sex more frequently’ in return
  • Stuerman claimed Singer ‘controlled’ his life during their four years together, saying he wasn’t allowed to date or have sex with anyone of his choosing 
  • He also alleged that the filmmaker attacked a party guest right in front of him in 2012 and then threatened he would kill him if he ever left   
  • Singer’s lawyer, Andrew Brettler, called Stuerman’s allegations ‘uncorroborated, inflammatory, and highly defamatory’ in a four-page written response   
  • Singer has been hit by allegations from a number of people who have claimed that he sexually assaulted them as minors in incidents dating back to 1997 
  • The X-Men director denied all of the allegations, some of which have been retracted in court and settled  
  • Bryan Singer has been accused of ‘mental and emotional abuse’ by his former assistant and partner, who has shared details of their allegedly ‘traumatizing’ sexual relationship that started when he was 18 and the filmmaker was 43. 

    In an essay published by Variety, Blake Stuerman, 30, claimed that he met the X-Men director in New York City in 2009, just a few days after his 18th birthday, and their first sexual encounter occurred shortly after. 

    Stuerman said he later learned that Singer ‘had a reputation for liking very young-looking men,’ himself included. According to his account, the disgraced filmmaker ‘controlled’ every aspect of his life during the four years they spent together.  

    He also claimed he ‘lived in fear’ of Singer, now 56, after witnessing him attack a man at a house party in 2012, saying he threatened to kill him if he ever left.  

    Singer’s lawyer, Andrew Brettler, called Stuerman’s allegations ‘uncorroborated, inflammatory, and highly defamatory’ in a four-page written response, saying the former assistant ‘simply has an axe to grind’ after being fired in June 2013. 

    However, Brettler did not dispute or comment on the allegation that Singer got Stuerman drunk and had sex with him when he was 18. He also didn’t address the claim that the producer had assaulted someone in front of Stuerman nearly a decade ago. 

    Bryan Singer's former assistant and partner Blake Stuerman has accused him of years of 'mental and emotional' abuse

    Bryan Singer’s former assistant and partner Blake Stuerman has accused him of years of ‘mental and emotional’ abuse 

    Stuerman (pictured with Singer) shared details of his allegedly 'traumatizing' sexual relationship with Singer in an essay published by Variety

    Stuerman (pictured with Singer) shared details of his allegedly ‘traumatizing’ sexual relationship with Singer in an essay published by Variety

    Singer has worked in the industry for more than three decades and is known for the films X-Men, Superman Returns, The Usual Suspects, and Valkyrie, among others. 

    His career has been derailed by allegations, court cases, and documentaries by a number of men who have claimed that he sexually assaulted them as minors in incidents dating back to 1997.

    Singer, who is bisexual and has a son with actress Michelle Clunie, has denied all of the allegations, some of which have been retracted in court and settled, saying the settlements cost less than going to court. 

    ‘Up until a few years ago, I still defended Bryan in private. If someone brought up the rumors of his alleged behavior, I would deny them,’ Stuerman wrote in his essay. 

    ‘It wasn’t until I began receiving treatment specifically for abuse and PTSD that I accepted what had actually happened. I am a victim of abuse by a very powerful, very wealthy, and very sick man. I am a victim of Bryan Singer.’ 

    I am a victim of abuse by a very powerful, very wealthy, and very sick man

    Stuerman said he was broke and working as an assistant scenic designer in New York when he met Singer at a dinner at Nobu 57 in 2009. 

    ‘I was stick thin, wildly precocious, and looked no older than 15. The textbook definition of a twink,’ he recalled.    

    He claimed later that night Singer invited everyone to his hotel suite and asked to see his driver’s license because he couldn’t believe he was 18. When he decided to leave, he said Singer offered him a drink and told him his driver could take him home if he stayed, but he declined the offer.  

    Stuerman wrote about how he went on to spend the week with Singer and his friends, recalling how the filmmaker ‘dropped more than $10,000 on a John Waters self-portrait because he found it amusing.’ 

    He claimed he had ‘never had a sip of alcohol or done any drugs’ before he met Singer, but that changed one night when the director allegedly pressured him to take a sip of his drink at dinner. 

    According to Stuerman, Singer insisted he finish the drink and then ordered him another before inviting everyone back to his hotel suite.     

    ‘The group left his suite a few at a time until I found myself alone with Bryan. I was newly 18, alone in a hotel suite with a rich and famous man who was giving me his full attention, and I was intoxicated for the first time in my life,’ he wrote. 

    ‘My chest grows tight now just thinking about it. You can imagine what happened next. I didn’t know I was allowed to say no. I didn’t know that alcohol was affecting my decision-making ability.’

    Stuerman said that the next day Singer offered to fly him to Los Angeles, telling him that he was talented and should live there if he really wanted to work in film. After moving cross country, he learned of Singer allegedly liked ‘young-looking men.’  

    ‘Older men would lead groups of twinks, like me, into Bryan’s house,’ he claimed. ‘It was expected that these men had already vetted these boys to make sure they were legal. 

    ‘He would come hang out for a bit, make sure everyone had drinks, and then he’d pick the one, two, or more who he liked and we’d see them an hour or three later. I was often one of them.’

    Stuerman explained that Singer was also mentoring him, saying he was invited to ‘sets, post-production sessions, script readings, development meetings, film festivals, parties, and dinners.’

    He also recalled how Singer would pay for his meals and once took him to dinner with Elton John, saying the Hollywood heavyweight was ‘extremely generous.’ 

    ‘I thought I was so incredibly lucky to have such a talented and powerful man as my mentor,’ he wrote, claiming that around this time Singer ‘also began to expect sex more frequently.’  

    Stuerman alleged that Singer would have movie nights at his home that always ended with them being alone. He claimed that after the movie ended ‘it was then expected that we’d have sex or, at the very least, I would masturbate with him.’ 

    According to the former assistant, the closer they got, the more he expected from him, and whenever he tried to say no, he faced losing everything he had worked for. 

    ‘If I put up even a little bit of resistance, he’d get angry. “Why would I throw my future away?” If I wanted to leave I was welcome to, but I wouldn’t be allowed back. He would text me about sex: “Boy c** yeahhhhhhhhh!”

    Stuerman claimed he was 18 and Singer was 43 when the filmmaker got him drunk and had sex with him the first time, saying he didn't know he 'was allowed to say no'

    Stuerman claimed he was 18 and Singer was 43 when the filmmaker got him drunk and had sex with him the first time, saying he didn’t know he ‘was allowed to say no’

    Stuerman noted that he was 'stick thin' and 'looked no older than 15' at the time. He later learned that Singer 'had a reputation for liking very young-looking men'

    Stuerman noted that he was ‘stick thin’ and ‘looked no older than 15’ at the time. He later learned that Singer ‘had a reputation for liking very young-looking men’

    Stuerman claimed that one night at a house party Singer ‘violently attacked one of the guests’ near him. After he dragged him inside, the filmmaker allegedly told him: ‘I’ll f**king kill you if you leave me.’ 

    ‘I had never witnessed or experienced physical violence before meeting Bryan,’ he said. ‘I realized I was trapped alone in a room with a violently drunk man. The terror quickly sank in.’

    Stuerman said he did his best to calm Singer down while ‘sending frantic texts to people who were still partying, telling them to shut everything off.’ 

    ‘My texts were desperate. I was desperate. It was nearly 6 a.m. by the time I was able to get everything shut down,’ he said. ‘That’s when he finally fell asleep. From then on, I lived in fear of Bryan following through on his threats. 

    I had never witnessed or experienced physical violence before meeting Bryan 

    ‘If Bryan found out I had hooked up with someone without his permission — without inviting him to participate — he berated me, and dangled my future in front of me,’ he added. ‘

    I wasn’t allowed to date. I wasn’t allowed to have sex with people of my choosing. He controlled me.’ 

    Stuerman alleged the ‘mental and emotional abuse from Bryan would frequently trigger panic attacks’ during production on X-Men: Days of Future Past in the spring of 2013. 

    He said that he was also exhausted because Singer dragged him out almost every night during production, claiming the director kept everyone on set waiting while he tried ‘to sober up in the mornings.’   

    Stuerman claimed that when he broke down and told Singer he was an alcoholic and needed help, he flew into a rage and kicked him out. Someone from production allegedly assured him this was ‘normal’ and Singer would ‘calm down’ in a few hours. 

    He said he faced Singer’s wrath again when he accidentally overslept and missed brunch with him, saying he was awoken by a security guard who told him he was being sent back to LA.   

    While he was allegedly advised to lay low and wait for Singer to forgive him, he realized he couldn’t keep living this way any longer. He said a separation agreement was drawn up, and he was given a ‘low five-figure payment’ for his work.   

    The former assistant, who wanted to work in the film industry, alleged that Singer became his mentor, but 'began to expect sex more frequently' in return

    The former assistant, who wanted to work in the film industry, alleged that Singer became his mentor, but ‘began to expect sex more frequently’ in return

    Stuerman claimed Singer 'controlled' his life during their four years together, saying he wasn't allowed to date or have sex with anyone of his choosing

    Stuerman claimed Singer ‘controlled’ his life during their four years together, saying he wasn’t allowed to date or have sex with anyone of his choosing

    ‘I was not included in the credits of Days of Future Past,’ he added. ‘I was told it was simply “an oversight.” I was told that I did all of this to myself and had no one else to blame. I was convinced that I’d f***** up and hadn’t worked hard enough. I thought I blew my one shot at getting to tell stories. All my self-worth was tied to what I did and who I knew.’

    In 2014, right before Days of Future Past was released, actor and model Michael Egan, then 31, accused Singer of raping him in Hawaii in 1999, when he was 17. 

    Stuerman said that after the story broke, his relationship with Singer became tabloid fodder, but he was ‘warned not to say anything.’ He explained that he ‘fell into a severe depression’ and had to move home with his parents. 

    He recalled struggling with his mental health as well as alcohol abuse and a dependence on anti-anxiety medications for two years. He started seeing a therapist weekly at his parents’ request. 

    Stuerman said it took years of therapy for him to realize he was a ‘victim of abuse.’ 

    ‘It turns out addiction, severe depression, PTSD, and anxiety are all very common among those of us who experienced Bryan’s wrath,’ he wrote.    

    For nearly 25 years, allegations of sexual misconduct have followed Singer, with multiple accusations from different men — some of them underage at the time — in incidents occurring between 1997 and 2006.

    Several of the court cases, filed in 2014 and 2017, were later dismissed, withdrawn by the complainants or allegedly settled out of court.

    But the arrival of the MeToo movement resurfaced the rumors, with Singer being fired from two high-profile director roles, one of which was the 2017 Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody that Dexter Fletcher stepped in to complete the flick. 

    He was also fired as the director of Red Sonja, which was originally released in 1985 and set to be developed again through Robert Rodriguez’s Troublemaker Studios.

    Singer's lawyer, Andrew Brettler, called Stuerman's allegations 'uncorroborated, inflammatory, and highly defamatory' in a four-page written response

    Singer’s lawyer, Andrew Brettler, called Stuerman’s allegations ‘uncorroborated, inflammatory, and highly defamatory’ in a four-page written response

    Singer has been hit by allegations from a number of people who have claimed that he sexually assaulted them as minors in incidents dating back to 1997

    Singer has been hit by allegations from a number of people who have claimed that he sexually assaulted them as minors in incidents dating back to 1997

    Singer hasn’t directed a movie since.  

    In 2019, The Atlantic published an expose from four alleged victims who claimed he assaulted them when they were minors. 

    DailyMail.com also revealed exclusive court documents from 2014 that show Singer faced at least five allegations of sexual assault that year. 

    Stuerman’s account was corroborated by 20 people, including people who knew them and worked on X-Men: Days of Future Past, according to Variety. 

    The outlet also said that the former assistant provided ‘extensive documentation’ that ranged from photographs of him with Singer to sexual text message exchanges. 

     I lived in fear of Bryan following through on his threats

    While responding to the allegations against his client, Brettler provided text messages from Stuerman to Singer that also corroborated they had a sexual relationship and that the former relied on the latter for money. 

    Bettler claimed that Singer distanced himself from Stuerman because he ‘grew increasingly paranoid, delusional, and needy.’   

    ‘The types of allegations that Mr. Steurman [sic] now is leveling against Mr. Singer are nothing more than self-serving and conclusory statements with absolutely no evidentiary support,’ the lawyer wrote.  

    He added: ‘Mr. Stuerman is angry and upset that he allegedly did not receive the “credit” that he thought he deserved on Mr. Singer’s films….And, most of all, he is angry and upset that Mr. Singer is no longer funding Mr. Stuerman’s jet setting lifestyle and supporting Mr. Stuerman financially, as he had done for so many years.’ 

    BRYAN SINGER’S SEXUAL ASSAULT ALLEGATION TIMELINE

    1997: A 14-year-old extra accused Singer of asking him and other minors to film a shower scene in the nude for the 1998-released film Apt Pupil, an adaptation of the 1982 Stephen King thriller, starring Ian McKellen. Two other adolescent boys, 16 and 17 years old, later supported the 14-year-old’s claim. The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office declined to press criminal charges, with some sources claiming the charges were dropped an others saying it was settled out of court. 

    April 2014: Singer was accused by actor and model Michael Egan, then 31, of raping him in Hawaii in 1999, when he was 17, promising him movie roles. 

    Egan claimed he had been introduced to Singer by his business partner Marc Collins-Rector, later a convicted sex offender whom Egan had successfully sued for a $1million settlement a decade earlier. 

    Egan refused a $100,000 settlement, as revealed by DailyMail.com in 2019. He withdrew his allegations and was later jailed for two years in 2015 for his part in a fraudulent investment scheme.   

    May 2014: An anonymous British man referred to as John Doe No.117 filed a suit against Singer and producer Gary Goddard, using the same attorney as Egan, Jeff Herman.

    The man claimed he had been sexually assaulted by Singer at The Superman Returns premiere in London in 2006. In July he dropped his allegations. He was also referenced in court documents, revealed by DailyMail.com in 2019.  

    November 2014: Singer was cited in documentary An Open Secret exposing child abuse in the film industry. Egan’ s allegations were omitted after he withdrew his lawsuit during the film’s production. American Psycho author Bret Easton Ellis alleged that two of his former partners had attended underage sex parties hosted by Singer and fellow director Roland Emmerich.

    December 2017: Cesar Sanchez-Guzman filed a lawsuit accusing Singer of raping him at a party on a yacht in Seattle in 2003 when he was 17. 

    December 2017: Days before the lawsuit was filed, Singer  was fired by executives at 20th Century Fox as director of Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, after escalating tensions between Singer and actor Rami Malek caused by the former’s frequent unexplained absences from set. Singer denied all allegations of unprofessional behavior and claimed Fox refused to allow him to tend to ‘a gravely ill parent’ as well as to his own health. The USC School of Cinematic Arts also removed Singer’s name from its Division of Cinema & Media Studies program, following a protest by students. Though Mr. Singer remained credited as the director of the film, he went notably unmentioned in 2019 award-season speeches.

    June 2019: Singer paid Sanchez-Guzman, who had filed for bankruptcy in 2014, $150,000 to have the charges against him dropped. 

    January 2019: The Atlantic published an expose in which four more men alleged that Singer sexually assaulted them when they were underage. Over a 12-month investigation, the journalists say they spoke to more that 50 sources, including four men who have never talked about their experiences with Singer before.

    One individual claimed that, at the age of 17, he had sex with the director at Singer’s house in 1997. Another claimed that he and Singer had sex the same year in a Beverly Hills mansion, when he was just 15.

    Both assert that Singer, who was then in his early 30s, knew that they were under 18 and therefore below the age of consent in California.

    The victims claimed their experiences left them psychologically damaged, with substance-abuse problems, depression and PTSD.   

    One named victim, Victor Valdovinos, claimed he was a 13-year-old extra on the set of Apt Pupil in 1997 when Singer — then in his 30s — touched his genitals. According to Valdovinos, Singer molested him multiple times during a day of filming in a locker room that required partial nudity.  

    The article also claimed that Sanchez-Guzman’s 2017 lawsuit was stalled when Singer’s legal team reported Sanchez-Guzman to the Internal Revenue Service and to US immigration officials, although this was disputed by one of Singer’s lawyers.

    In response to the men’s allegations, Singer denied any association with them and described the journalists as ‘homophobic.’

    January 2019:  DailyMail.com reveals court documents from 2014 showing that Singer was hit by at least five allegations of sexual assault, including Egan and John Doe No.117, with at least two of the claimants settling out of court. 

    February 2019: The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) removed Singer’s name from Bohemian Rhapsody’s nomination for the BAFTA Award for Best British Film due to the allegations against him. And Millennium Films revealed that Singer had been removed as director for upcoming project Red Sonja.

    December 2021: Singer’s former assistant Blake Stuerman, 30, accused him of ‘mental and emotional abuse’ in an essay published by Variety. Stuerman alleged that he was 18 when Singer, then 43, got him drunk and had sex with him for the first time. He also claimed the filmmaker ‘controlled’ his life during their four years together. 

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