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Bryan Singer attends a Global Fan Screening of "X-Men Apocalypse" at BFI IMAX on May 9, 2016 in London, England.

Blake Stuerman, former assistant-turned-lover of filmmaker Bryan Singer, detailed his harrowing four-year experience to the man 25 years his senior in an op-ed. Singer, who came to prominence as a director with 1995’s The Usual Suspects, met Stuerman in New York City when he was 43 — and Stuerman was 18.

Stuerman wrote his op-ed for Variety, giving his account of his time with Singer, providing the outlet with documents, photographs, emails and text messages. The two got into a sexual relationship shortly after meeting, but Stuerman was ultimately fired as Singer’s assistant in June 2013 on the film X-Men: Days of Future Past.

Variety interviewed 20 people in Stuerman’s and Singer’s orbits at the time of these events for this story, 18 of whom kept their identities anonymous in order to protect their positions within the industry or out of concern of reprisals from Singer — as well as Stuerman’s parents.

When given a detailed summary of what Stuerman wrote, Singer’s lawyer, Andrew Brettler, responded in a four-page letter in which he called Stuerman’s allegations “uncorroborated, inflammatory, and highly defamatory” and that Stuerman “simply has an axe to grind” against Singer.

Singer has been the subject of controversy for much of his career, starting with allegations of misconduct involving minors on the set of the 1998 film Apt Pupil, and exploding after being accused of raping a minor in a civil lawsuit in 2014 (the accusation was later withdrawn). In 2019, Singer settled a lawsuit for $150,000 that claimed he’d raped a 17-year-old boy in 2003 (he denied the allegations). Singer has never been arrested or charged with a crime related to these allegations and has denied all allegations of sexual misconduct. Singer was fired from Bohemian Rhapsody in 2017 after causing “chaos on set.” He hasn’t directed a movie since.

Stuerman wrote: “I was newly 18, alone in a hotel suite with a rich and famous man who was giving me his full attention, and I was intoxicated for the first time in my life. My chest grows tight now just thinking about it. You can imagine what happened next. I didn’t know I was allowed to say no. I didn’t know that alcohol was affecting my decision-making ability.”

Stuerman felt he had to “vehemently” defend Singer’s name for a long time — including up to a few years ago. “He’s not like what you hear! He’s very generous! No, he’s never been inappropriate with me! If he was so awful, do you think I’d be friends with him?” Stuerman recounted.

Stuerman took to Twitter to add to his Variety Op-Ed:

Some on Twitter have called Singer’s behavior “one of the worst kept secrets in Hollywood”: