The fallout from allegations that Bohemian Rhapsody director Bryan Singer sexually assaulted several young men over the course of two decades continues. The accusations leveled against Singer in a piece in The Atlantic prompted GLAAD to refuse to nominate the Freddie Mercury biopic for an award, and BAFTA (the British equivalent of the Oscars organization) scrubbed his name from a nomination. Still, Avi Lerner, a producer for Red Sonja, for which Singer was tapped to direct for $10 million, stood by the director in a statement.
Now, while Singer has not been officially taken off of the project, Red Sonja has been removed from Millennium Films slate and it has not been shopped in the European market, which signals that it’s been put on hold, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
As the allegations that Singer sexually abused boys dropped and organizations began to rethink Bohemian Rhapsody’s place in awards season, Millennium Films CEO Lerner released a statement that doubled down on his choice of Singer to direct the fantasy film. At the time, he called the allegations against Singer “agenda driven fake news.”
"I continue to be in development for Red Sonja and Bryan Singer continues to be attached," producer Lerner originally said in a statement to THR.
"The over $800 million Bohemian Rhapsody has grossed, making it the highest grossing drama in film history, is testament to his remarkable vision and acumen,” Lerner continued. “I know the difference between agenda driven fake news and reality, and I am very comfortable with this decision. In America people are innocent until proven otherwise."
The producer received enormous blowback for his comments and later said that publicist Howard Bragman crafted the statement that he signed off on without reading it closely, according to THR.
"I don't want to apologize. I just want to clarify,” Lerner said after the original statement was met with ire on social media.
"I think victims should be heard and this allegation should be taken very, very seriously. I just don't agree to judge by the Twitter. I want [the accused] to be judged by the court,” Lerner said.
With a budget of $70 million to $80 million, Red Sonja was originally scheduled to begin shooting this spring.
Earlier this month at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, Bohemian Rhapsody star Rami Malek, who plays the bisexual Queen front man Mercury, distanced himself from Singer, saying he feels for survivors of sexual assault and adding that his experience with the director “was not pleasant.”