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January 30, 2019

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.

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." Brendan Morrow

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