The USC School of Cinematic Arts said it will remove director Bryan Singer’s name from its Division of Cinema & Media Studies program as new allegations of sexual assault came to light yesterday in a lawsuit.
Here’s the statement:
Bryan Singer has requested that the USC School of Cinematic Arts suspend the use of his name on the Division of Cinema & Media Studies until the allegations against him are resolved. The School means a great deal to Bryan, and while he intends to defend himself vigorously against these claims, he does not want the pending litigation to have any negative impact on his alma mater.
USC issued the statement just hours after a rep for the school insisted to Deadline earlier this morning there was “no new development on our behalf beyond the fact that we are monitoring the situation very closely.”
Last month, the USC school said it was aware of a Change.org petition started by a student asking to remove Singer’s name. The petition just passed 4,000 signatures.
“Sexual harassment and assault are prevalent issues in Hollywood, the entertainment industry, and the American workplace as a whole, and they require action to catalyze change, little by little,” said Emily Halaka in the petition. “By continuing to associate Mr. Singer’s name with our university, USC is openly supporting a man who has been publicly accused of reprehensible sexual misconduct. As USC students and alumni, we hold ourselves to a standard of respect, and the SCA administration’s actions are not representative of that standard.”
On Thursday evening, just days after the director was fired from Fox’s Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, a lawsuit was filed accusing Singer of sexually assaulting a 17-year-old boy in Washington State in 2003. It was the latest accusation of sexual misconduct against him.
In February 2013, Singer became the first alumnus of USC’s School Of Cinematic Arts to have one of the school’s six programs of study named in his honor after he donated $5 million. The program was known as the Bryan Singer Division of Critical Studies.
“In a way, I began my career in the Division of Critical Studies at USC,” he said at the time. “Watching great films and learning how to think about film from the faculty transformed me as an artist and as a person. I am honored to give back to the division and the school, which gave me so much.”
In October, the USC film school rejected Harvey’s Weinstein’s $5 million pledge to fund an endowment for women filmmakers after bombshell exposés from the New York Times the New Yorker alleging decades of sexual harassment by the Oscar-winning producer.