Thursday, April 17, 2014

Bryan Singer, Apt Pupil

A director called Bryan Singer, known for movies based on comic books, has been accused of raping a teenage boy in the 1990s. The victim is suing him. I won't go into detail.

But Singer got into trouble in the '90s directing the movie Apt Pupil. It starred the late Brad Renfro, 14 at the time, who discovers that his elderly neighbor is a Nazi war criminal and blackmails him into teaching him about being a Nazi for some reason.

The movie included a school locker room scene. And here's where Singer got into trouble.

From the website for A Minor Consideration, a group advocating for children and teenagers working in Hollywood:

When things go Very Wrong
The allegations coming out of the "Apt Pupil" set are disturbing, to say the least. The plaintiffs are claiming that they were separated from their parents, coerced (by threats of dismissal and promises of future work) into completely undressing, and filmed with full frontal nudity - which is a violation of California penal code 311.4. In addition, a still photographer was present on the set snapping pictures, and many of the negatives have disappeared. The defendants are not challenging that it happened, but are claiming that in doing this, they were doing nothing wrong.

It was initially claimed that the this was approved by the Labor Department. This is untrue. All that was approved was an emergency work permit for 14 yr. old Devon St. Alban.

It is the claim that there is nothing wrong that disturbs us the most. Let's examine the facts a little closer.
The children were separated from their parents
It is required that parents stay within "sight and sound" of their children at all times. This is something that responsible producers, directors - AND STUDIO TEACHERS (more on this later) - take quite seriously. It is known and acknowledged that it is not always possible for a parent to be physically present with the child. Such circumstances include shooting quarters that are too small or difficult to handle numbers of people. When this occurs, responsible producers set up video monitors and sound systems so that the parent is aware of what is happening at all times.

This did not happen on the Apt Pupil set. The parents were told they could not be present and no alternate arrangements were made. A question must immediately come to the mind of any reasonable person: Why would the producers not want the parents to see what was happening? What were they afraid of? Could it possibly be that they were reasonably certain that they couldn't get the children to do this if their parents knew it was happening?
Possible coercion of children
From another article on the same site:
These are the facts: Six minors were "intimidated" (the exact words of the Assistant DA, Susan Powers) into getting naked on a working set and were filmed in the nude. No parents were present on the ‘Closed Set’ and the Studio Teacher did not protest. Still photographs were taken of these minors, but not just for ‘continuity.’ Photos of minors urinating exist. The film exists. These minors were working in the nude in the company of adults and were, for nearly four hours, absent any oversight or protection from any quarter.

...
Fourteen is the age of the youngest minor on the shower scene set of "Apt Pupil" who thankfully had the wit and the courage to refuse the order to step out of his ‘dancer’s belt.’

Six minors were falsely told that they would be in a shower scene wearing "Speedos," a scanty but acceptable covering worn by our Olympic swimmers. Six minors were instead given ‘dancer’s belts’ which professional dancers refer to as "slips," or "honey pots," or "holsters," and which, when wet, hide nothing. Dancer’s belts are flesh colored and affixed with narrow bands of elastic mimicking (in style but not in substance) a jock strap…an athletic appliance which, to my certain knowledge, has never been considered an acceptable covering for published photography of minor aged children.

But even the Dancer’s Belt was too much for the film crew engaged in filming the shower scene. Over an hour into the filming of the scene (approximately 10:15 AM, April 2nd, 1997) the demand was made for even the minors to strip naked.

It was at this exact point that criminal demands were made…and realized. >From this point forward the Labor Code violations became criminal acts. It took months for the DLSE investigative unit to come to this conclusion. It took more months for the SAFE (Sexual Abuse Federal Enforcement) task force to arrive at its conclusion that eight adults participated in this criminal enterprise directed toward six minors in the report forwarded to the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office…where the normal command chain was co-opted by Higher Authority…

…and the decision not to prosecute was made (on December 15th, ’97…eight months and thirteen days after the event).

...
Bryan Singer was the director on the set - the one in charge of and responsible for the scenes being shot. Aides and assistants to this man carried out his orders on the set, from the Assistant Director to the Costumers to the Studio Teachers. Six young boys came under the gaze of the camera lens he directed. Raw footage and the ‘out-takes’…are already circulating and have been seen at "private screenings" here in Los Angeles. It is just a matter of time before photographs and actual video tape of this incident will find their way onto the Internet, and from there into the homes of pedophiles all around the world. The Defense is currently attempting to quash depositions of witnesses to this reality.

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