LOS ANGELES (CNN) — A lawsuit filed Wednesday accuses “X-Men” director Bryan Singer of sexually abusing a teenage boy 15 years ago.
Singer allegedly offered the aspiring teen actor a role in an “X-Men” film if he gave in to his sexual demands, while threatening to destroy his career if he didn’t, according to the civil suit filed in U.S. District Court in Hawaii Wednesday.
Singer’s representative said the accusations were “completely without merit.”
“We are very confident that Bryan will be vindicated in this absurd and defamatory lawsuit,” Singer’s rep said. “It is obvious that this case was filed in an attempt to get publicity at the time when Bryan’ s new movie is about to open in a few weeks.”
Singer is one of Hollywood’s most successful directors and producers, having directed two installments of the “X-Men” film franchise and a Superman movie in the past 15 years. His next film — “X-Men: Days of Future Past” — is set to hit theaters on May 23.
“Hollywood has a problem with the sexual exploitation of children,” said attorney Jeff Herman, who filed the suit on behalf of plaintiff Michael Egan. “This is the first of many cases I will be filing to give these victims a voice and to expose the issue.”
Herman told CNN Wednesday night that at least two similar lawsuits to be filed this month will also name known Hollywood figures as defendants.
He chose Hawaii to file the suits because the legislature there opened a window for two years allowing old sex abuse cases to be filed. The provision expires next week, Herman said.
The alleged sex abuse incidents detailed in the lawsuit happened in 1998 and 1999 when the plaintiff, Michael Egan, was 17, the suit said.
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 which resulted in Plaintiff suffering catastrophic psychological and emotional injuries,” the complaint alleged. “Defendant Singer did so as part of a group of adult males similarly positioned in the entertainment industry that maintained and exploited boys in a sordid sex ring. A Hollywood mogul must not use his position to sexually exploit underage actors.”
Most of the alleged sex abuse took place at parties hosted by technology entrepreneur Marc Collins-Rector at an Encino, California, mansion, the suit said.
“He was advised that those adult males controlled Hollywood and would destroy his hopes and dreams of an acting career if he did not keep them happy,” the suit said. “They threatened to ‘eliminate’ him and his family, and told him that they were monitoring not only his phone, but those of his family members, and asserted he would be ‘destroyed’ if he ever disclosed the unconscionable activities that occurred at the estate.”
Singer “was present for, and participated in, several of these threatening communications,” the complaint alleged.
Egan “never freely, voluntarily, and knowingly consented to these sexual interactions, and often resisted them,” it said.
“The parties were typically sordid and featured sexual contact between adult males and the many teenage boys who were present for the parties,” the suit said. The teens were seduced by the “distraction of alcohol and drugs,” it said.
“The nature of the parties was well-known and notorious among many men in the Hollywood entertainment industry,” the complaint said.
Other incidents allegedly happened during two trips to Hawaii.
Singer allegedly gave Egan “drugs, including cocaine, a pill identified as ‘green triangle’ which is believed to be a reference to the drug Ecstasy, Xanax, Rohypnol, pain pills believed to be Vicodin or Percocet, and alcoholic beverages,” the suit said.
Singer “promised acting roles to Plaintiff in an X-Men movie, in commercials, and in other of his projects, and professed that he would arrange for Plaintiff to audition for roles and projects in others’ productions,” it alleged.
The complaint detailed an incident in which Collins-Rector allegedly pointed a gun at Egan “and threatened to pull the trigger if his resistance to submitting to sexual contact continued.”
When he did not comply, Collins-Rector allegedly “forcibly locked plaintiff for a period of time in a gun safe which was located in the master bedroom closet.”
Collins-Rector was convicted on federal charges of transporting four minors across state lines for sex in 2004 and was successfully sued a decade ago by men who claimed he sexual abused them.
Egan “has suffered, is suffering, and will continue to suffer” severe psychological, mental, and emotional injuries and trauma as a direct result of abuse by Singer, the suit said. He is also having to pay for “counseling and therapy for the psychological, mental and emotional injuries and trauma.” He’s suffered “loss of enjoyment of life” and “shame, humiliation, and indignity,” the complaint said
Egan and his lawyer are scheduled to appear at a news conference in Los Angeles Thursday afternoon.
CNN’s Carolyn Sung contributed to this report.