Film director Bryan Singer is used to running the gauntlet of movie critics, but he’s now facing far more serious accusations in the court of law as well as in the court of public opinion. He is being sued for allegedly raping Michael Egan, a teenager, after giving him drugs and promising him roles in his movies. Egan’s lawyer, Jeff Herman, is linking this case to broader Hollywood culture, and has expanded the suit, alleging that his client was also abused by three entertainment executives who were all part of a “Hollywood sex ring.” Singer and the three executives are vehemently denying the charges, and the facts aren’t clear enough yet to know exactly what happened. But, as CNN reports, Herman believes that most of Hollywood knows about prevalent sex abuse:
Herman said he has been working for six months to uncover teen sex abuse cases in Hollywood, some more recent than Egan’s.“We suspect these things are still going on in Hollywood,” he said.He said it was a silent conspiracy that “goes from the bottom to the top of Hollywood” with studios “looking the other way.”“It’s the worst kept secret around, because it has been going on for years in Hollywood,” Herman said.
We already know that sexual abuse of minors occurs in families, high schools, and universities. If there’s any truth to Egan’s allegations and Herman’s wider statements here, it also is apparently widespread in Hollywood. It’s interesting to review statements made about the Catholic Church’s sexual abuse scandal in light of these allegations. From liberal Catholic papers all the way up to the New York Times, article after article blamed priestly celibacy and oppressive Catholic sexual ethics for the abuse. But last we checked, Hollywood wasn’t notorious for preaching chastity, and it it appears to have given rise to abuse and secrecy as well. Maybe, just maybe, the truth lies deeper than these critics of celibacy understood, and human beings of whatever belief system or power structure are just inclined to do bad things when they’re confident they can get away with them.