'X-Men' director Bryan Singer accused of drugging, raping teen
By Eric Kelsey
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Director Bryan Singer, weeks before the release of his blockbuster "X-Men" action film, "X-Men: Days of Future Past," has been accused of drugging and raping a teenage boy in California and Hawaii in the late 1990s.
The lawsuit filed on Wednesday in U.S. Court in Hawaii alleges that Singer, 48, used his influence as a Hollywood insider as well as a range of drugs and alcohol to force anal and oral sex on the boy while promising him roles in his films.
Michael Egan seeks unspecified damages and a jury trial after wide-ranging abuses at California and Hawaii house parties beginning in the late 1990s, according to the civil action.
Singer's attorney, Marty Singer, called the claims "without merit" and "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," Singer said in the statement.
"X-Men: Days of Future Past" will open in U.S. theaters on May 23 and is distributed by 20th Century Fox. It is expected to be one of the top-grossing films of the year with a projected opening weekend haul of $103 million, according to Boxoffice.com.
The lawsuit could complicate the global promotion roll-out for Fox by pushing the director's legal problem to the forefront of the film starring Hugh Jackman, Jennifer Lawrence, Patrick Stewart, James McAvoy and Halle Berry.
Singer, who directed "X-Men" in 2000 and its sequel "X2" in 2003, is also signed on to direct the next installment in the franchise, "X-Men: Apocalypse," for Fox, which did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The film is scheduled to be released in 2016. Continued...