A lengthy article detailing new allegations of sexual assault against film director Bryan Singer—originally planned for publication in Esquire after a year-long investigation—landed at The Atlantic on Wednesday after being killed by Hearst executives, according to the two Esquire staffers who investigated and wrote the story.
“We have been asked why a story reported and written by two Esquire writers is being published in The Atlantic,” read a statement from Esquire editor-at-large Maximillian Potter and writer-at-large Alex French that was posted on The Atlantic PR team’s Twitter account Wednesday afternoon.
“This story began with our editors at Esquire. After months of reporting, the story went through Esquire‘s editorial process, which included fact-checking and vetting by a Hearst attorney, and the story was approved for publication. The story was then killed by Hearst executives. We do not know why.”
“We feel fortunate that The Atlantic decided to work for us,” the statement continues, “and we are grateful that the piece has gone through The Atlantic‘s thoughtful editorial process, which included another rigorous fact-check and robust legal vetting. We are most grateful that the alleged victims now have a change to be heard and we hope the substance of their allegations remains in focus.”
Reps for Hearst Magazines and Esquire have not responded to requests for comment.
Observers were quick to draw parallels to Ronan Farrow’s assertion that NBC News executives had punted his investigation into Harvey Weinstein’s history of sexual assault and harassment (which Farrow eventually brought to The New Yorker), an assertion that NBC has repeatedly denied.
“The last time I posted about this subject, Esquire magazine was preparing to publish an article written by a homophobic journalist who has a bizarre obsession with me dating back to 1997,” read Wednesday’s statement from Singer in response to The Atlantic‘s story, which stems from a 12-month investigation and cites 50 sources, including detailed accounts from four accusers. “After careful fact-checking and, in consideration of the lack of credible sources, Esquire chose not to publish this piece of vendetta journalism. That didn’t stop this writer from selling it to The Atlantic. It’s sad that The Atlantic would stoop to this low standard of journalistic integrity.”
Singer’s statement Wednesday—which followed an earlier, preemptive denial issued on Instagram in October—went on to dismiss the article as a “homophobic smear piece.”
“The writers spent 12 months investigating various lawsuits and allegations against Singer,” Anna Bross, The Atlantic’s senior director of communications, tells Folio:. “This article has been thoroughly reported, sourced, researched, and fact-checked. We have full confidence in this reporting and in our publication of this investigation.”
This is a developing story.