Producer says he didn't write or read his statement calling Bryan Singer allegations 'fake news'

Avi Lerner.
(Image credit: Pascal Le Segretain / Getty Images )

The producer who last week released a stunning statement calling the sexual abuse allegations against director Bryan Singer "fake news" says he didn't write it nor did he read it — but he's not backing away from what was said, either.

After The Atlantic last week published an exposé about Singer that included interviews with men who said he sexually abused them when they were underage, allegations Singer denies, Millennium Films CEO Avi Lerner said in a statement that Singer would keep his job on his upcoming movie Red Sonja because "I know the difference between agenda driven fake news and reality."

Lerner told The Hollywood Reporter on Wednesday that he just signed off on this statement when a publicist put it in front of him without looking at it. But while Lerner conceded the statement "came out the wrong way," he also made clear that "I don't want to apologize" and said that Singer should be "judged by the court" and not by Twitter. While he said the allegations should "be taken very, very seriously," he also said he has "reason why I doubt that he has done it" but wouldn't explain what that means.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

Lerner, who in the past settled a lawsuit from a female employee alleging harassment, isn't backing down from keeping Singer on the movie, telling the Reporter that he hasn't received any pushback in Hollywood and claiming that, in fact, one studio head called him to say, "Well done." Reporter Tatiana Siegel reached out to a variety of Hollywood sources and writes that while some agents expressed wariness of having one of their clients appear in Red Sonja, "no one wanted to be quoted" and "no one said he or she would stop working with Lerner."

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.

Brendan Morrow

Brendan is a staff writer at The Week. A graduate of Hofstra University with a degree in journalism, he also writes about horror films for Bloody Disgusting and has previously contributed to The Cheat Sheet, Heavy, WhatCulture, and more. He lives in New York City surrounded by Star Wars posters.