LOS ANGELES - A lawyer for "X-Men" director Bryan Singer dismissed as "fabricated" and absurd claims Thursday that the filmmaker sexually assaulted a former child model and aspiring teenage actor.
The lawyer also pledged to counter-sue the 31-year-old alleged victim, who gave details of his allegations dating from 15 years ago at a Beverly Hills press conference.
Flanked by his own attorney, Michael Egan III said the blockbuster director forced him to have sex at parties in California and Hawaii in the late 1990s, when he was 17 years old.
"You were like a piece of meat to these people, they would pass you around between them" at the parties, said Egan, calling his attackers "evil." But Singer's lawyer dismissed the "completely fabricated" claims, adding: "We look forward to our bringing a claim for malicious prosecution against Mr Egan and his attorney after we prevail." The lawsuit is "an attempt to get publicity at the time when Bryan's new movie is about to open in a few weeks," said attorney Marty Singer, who is not related to the director.
"X-Men: Days of Future Past," starring Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen and Hugh Jackman is due out on May 23 in the United States, and around the world on that date or a few days before.
In the lawsuit, Egan alleged that Singer "manipulated his power, wealth and position in the entertainment industry to sexually abuse and exploit the underage plaintiff through the use of drugs, alcohol, threats and inducements." He suffered "catastrophic psychological and emotional injuries" because of the abuse, added the 13-page legal document filed Wednesday in Hawaii.
Plied with drinks
Egan, who grew up in Nebraska, moved first to New York, where he did some modeling, and then to Los Angeles, where he was invited to parties.
"I had drugs put in drinks, I had liquor poured down my throat," Egan said, saying the abuse happened in one particular house. "I was raped numerous times in that house, by numerous individuals." He recalled one time when a gun was put in his mouth. "As a child, I was scared to death," Egan said.
Egan, now 31, said he told his mother about the abuse at the time and that she went to the police about it.
The LA Police Department brought in an agent from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, but the case was not pursued.
"It fell on deaf ears," Egan told reporters at a Beverly Hills press conference.
"Then I basically buried it in me, as deep as I possibly could, and I developed a problem with drinking to numb that pain for years." He began going to trauma therapy 11 months ago and then sought legal action.
His lawyer Jeff Herman denied the timing of the lawsuit was linked to the upcoming "X-Men" film release, saying it was due to a legal "window" in Hawaii that meant he has to file before April 24.
And Herman - who specializes in sex abuse cases, including representing victims of Catholic clergy in the United States - said he will likely file another three or four lawsuits.
"Hollywood has a problem with the sexual exploitation of children," he said.
"This is the first of many cases I will be filing to give these victims a voice and to expose the issue."