Queen’s Brian May drew considerable ire on social media last night when it was revealed that the guitarist appeared to defend Bryan Singer in the wake of new accusations of sexual assault against the Bohemian Rhapsody director. It was in an Instagram comment that a user named Sue urged May to unfollow Singer after The Atlantic dropped a damning exposé expanding and elaborating upon years of allegations of sexual misconduct and sex with minors faced by Singer. May responded by telling them to “look after your own business,” adding that they “need to learn to respect the fact that a man or woman is innocent until proven guilty.” Considering the breadth, scope, and weight of the allegations against the director, this resonated as disrespectful to the survivors who have come forward.
Last night, May responded to the criticism of his “hasty and inconsiderate” response, apologizing to both that user and “anyone else out there that I inadvertently offended.”
“My response was a result of my perception that someone was telling me what to do,” he wrote. “I now realise that I was completely wrong in thinking that. You were actually just trying to protect me, for which I thank you. I am mortified to discover the effect my words produced. I had no idea that saying someone was innocent until proven guilty could be interpreted as ‘defending’ Bryan Singer. I had absolutely no intention of doing that. I guess I must be naive, because also it had never occurred to me that ‘following’ a person on Instagram could be interpreted as approving of that person. The only reason I followed Bryan Singer was that we were working with him on a project. That situation came to an end when Mr Singer was removed during the shooting of the film, but I suppose unfollowing him never occurred to me as a necessity. Now, because of this misunderstanding, I have unfollowed. I’m so sorry. This must have caused you a lot of upset.”
May is played by Gwilym Lee in Bohemian Rhapsody, which just saw its GLAAD Media Awards nomination pulled in light of the new allegations. Singer, meanwhile, will still direct Millennium Films’ upcoming Red Sonja adaptation. The film’s producer, Avi Lerner, defended the decision on Thursday. “I know the difference between agenda driven fake news and reality, and I am very comfortable with this decision,” he said. “In America people are innocent until proven otherwise.”
Singer, too, has maintained his innocence, calling the Atlantic piece “vendetta journalism” that “rehashes claims from bogus lawsuits filed by a disreputable cast of individuals willing to lie for money or attention.”