This week, students from the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts (a private school in Los Angeles) started a petition asking Elizabeth Daley, the school dean, to remove openly gay film director Bryan Singer’s name from the school’s Division of Cinema and Media Studies in light of the “multiple accusations of sexual harassment, assault” and pederasty against him.
Singer is the director of beloved Hollywood projects including The Usual Suspects and multiple X-Men movies.
The petition says, “It is completely unacceptable that this prestigious department within our school still carries the name of Bryan Singer,” and adds:
Despite Singer’s philanthropic work for SCA, having his name attached to a division of the School of Cinematic Arts gives the impression that we, both as an institution and as members of the entertainment industry, value his financial contributions over the safety, respect and future of students.
“Sexual harassment and assault are prevalent issues in Hollywood, the entertainment industry, and the American workplace as a whole,” the petition continues, “and they require action to catalyze change, little by little.”
So far, the public petition, which can be signed by anyone, has 1,300 signatures with more being added every minute. The school has about 1,600 students.
The petition comes on the heels of several actors recently alleging sexual misconduct by Singer. Shortly after allegations of sexual harassment and assault arose against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, Westworld actress Evan Rachel Wood tweeted (and subsequently deleted), “Yeah lets not forget Brian [sic] Singer either.”
Actress Jessica Chastain tweeted out a link to an article which included allegations from a now-deleted Twitter user named Justin Smith alleging molestation by Singer. Chastain said in a subsequent interview with The Daily Beast, “I made a decision very early on to not work with people that I felt abused their positions, and didn’t create a healthy environment for those around them…. I do not feel beholden to anything. I’m going to speak my mind about any injustice that I see.”
Rumors of sexual misconduct have long surrounded Singer. A lawsuit in 1997 alleged the director forced three minors to shower nude for the psychological thriller Apt Pupil, though lawsuit was dismissed for lack of evidence. In 2014, a man named Michael Egan accused Singer and three other Hollywood insiders of molestation, rape and holding sex- and drug-fueled pool parties with underage actors. Egan’s scandalous lawsuit over these claims never went forward.
In a 2016 interview with Vulture, then 22-year-old actor Noah Gavin said, “Bryan Singer likes to invite little boys over to his pool and diddle them in the fucking dark of night.” Less than nine hours after the interview was published, Gavin apologized, writing, “My comments were false and unwarranted. It was irresponsible and stupid of me to make those allegations…” Gavin asked Vulture to retract his comments and print his apology.
A wave of sexual misconduct allegations have also recently surfaced against newly out actor Kevin Spacey, and several male actors like James Van Der Beek and Terry Crews have also alleged similar sexual misconduct by other male Hollywood executives.