The media watchdog told Variety exclusively it has pulled the film from contention for the prize, in a weighted decision that takes a stand for sexual assault victims. Singer has consistently denied misconduct, and called the Atlantic story “a homophobic smear piece.”
“In light of the latest allegations against director Bryan Singer, GLAAD has made the difficult decision to remove ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ from contention for a GLAAD Media Award in the Outstanding Film – Wide Release category this year. This week’s story in The Atlantic documenting unspeakable harms endured by young men and teenage boys brought to light a reality that cannot be ignored or even tacitly rewarded,” GLAAD said in a statement to Variety.
“Singer’s response to The Atlantic story wrongfully used ‘homophobia’ to deflect from sexual assault allegations and GLAAD urges the media and the industry at large to not gloss over the fact that survivors of sexual assault should be put first,” the statement continued.
Reps for Singer and 20th Century Fox, the distributor of “Bohemian Rhapsody,” had no immediate comment. The full list of nominations will be announced Friday morning live on Facebook at 10 a.m. E.T.
Time’s Up, the bellwether group formed in wake of Harvey Weinstein’s downfall that is committed to legal support for accusers and gender parity in Hollywood, applauded the decision from GLAAD.
“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 behavior are horrifying and MUST be taken seriously and investigated,” the group said in a statement.
GLAAD had previously championed the film for its unflinching depiction of gay icon Freddie Mercury’s sexuality and battle with AIDS.
“The team that worked so hard on ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, as well as the legacy of Freddie Mercury, deserve so much more than to be tainted in this way. ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ brought the story of LGBTQ icon Freddie 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,” GLAAD said.
The Atlantic report saw Singer accused of inappropriate groping and sexual relationships with young men. One, a 13-year-old extra on the Singer film “Apt Pupil,” said the director fondled his genitals without consent.
“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,” GLAAD concluded.
Three other accusers are identified in the story by pseudonyms. One, identified in the story as Andy, says that he had sex with Singer when he was 15. Another man, identified as Eric, says he was 17 when he began having sex with the director. Singer would have been 31 at the time. The third man, Ben, alleges that he and Singer had oral sex when he was 17 or 18.