Bohemian Rhapsody removed from contention at LGBT awards ceremony

Director Bryan Singer has been accused of sexual assault.

Bohemian Rhapsody has been removed as a nominee at a leading LGBT awards ceremony amid allegations of sexual assault against director Bryan Singer.

The Queen biopic, starring Golden Globe winner and Oscar nominee Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury, was pulled from contention for best original film at the GLAAD Media Awards.

It came after a report in the US emerged alleging that Singer sexually assaulted four men while they were under-age. Singer has denied the claims and called The Atlantic magazine’s story “a homophobic smear piece”.

Bryan Singer
American film director Bryan Singer has been accused of sexual assault, which he denies (Yui Mok/PA)

In a statement, GLAAD, a media monitoring organisation which hands out awards each year to recognise outstanding representations of the LGBT community in media, said the story contained “unspeakable harms endured by young men and teenage boys brought to light a reality that cannot be ignored or even tacitly rewarded”.

It added: “The team that worked so hard on Bohemian Rhapsody as well as the legacy of Freddy Mercury deserve so much more than to be tainted in this way.  

“Bohemian Rhapsody brought the story of LGBTQ icon Freddy 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.

“Other films that involve Singer now or in the future should take note of the backlash to The Atlantic story and other previous allegations. The industry cannot let those who perpetuate harms against anyone – especially vulnerable young people – go unnoticed or unchecked any longer.”

Time’s Up, the movement formed in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, applauded the decision.

In a statement posted to Twitter, it said: “We are in the midst of a cultural reckoning. Though there was once a time when business as usual could continue amid credible allegations of sexual assault and violence, that era has ended forever.

“The recent allegations regarding Bryan Singer’s behaviour are horrifying and MUST be taken seriously and investigated.”

Singer left production of Bohemian Rhapsody before the film was completed, amid reports of “creative differences” with Malek, though he remains listed as director.

Responding to the allegations, Singer said it was “vendetta journalism” that “rehashes claims from bogus lawsuits filed by a disreputable cast of individuals willing to lie for money or attention”.

He added: “And it is no surprise that, with Bohemian Rhapsody being an award-winning hit, this homophobic smear piece has been conveniently timed to take advantage of its success.”

Singer also directed The Usual Suspects, X-Men and Superman Returns.

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