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'X-Men' director Bryan Singer calls sex abuse claims 'shakedown'

Director of the movie Bryan Singer poses at the premiere of "Jack the Giant Slayer" in Hollywood, California February 26, 2013. REUTERS/Mari
Director of the movie Bryan Singer poses at the premiere of "Jack the Giant Slayer" in Hollywood, California February 26, 2013. REUTERS/Mari

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The director of the forthcoming "X-Men" film on Thursday called claims that he sexually abused a teen more than a decade ago a "sick, twisted shakedown," and said he was dropping out of promotional events for the movie ahead of its release.

Bryan Singer, 48, said in a statement that the allegations are "outrageous, vicious and completely false."

Last week, Michael Egan, 31, accused Singer in a civil lawsuit filed in federal court in Hawaii of drugging and raping him in 1999 in Hawaii and California. Egan, who was an aspiring teen actor at the time, seeks unspecified damages.

"I promise when this situation is over, the facts will show this to be the sick, twisted shakedown it is," Singer said in a statement, adding that he would not participate in media events for the film because it would be a distraction.

A message left for Egan's attorney on Thursday was not immediately returned.

The lawsuit could overshadow the promotional rollout of Singer's "X-Men: Days of Future Past," which is expected to be one of the year's top grossing films.

The film is estimated to gross $108 million in its opening weekend at the U.S. box office, according to BoxOffice.com.

The latest installment of the "X-Men" franchise stars Patrick Stewart, Jennifer Lawrence and Hugh Jackman, and is distributed by 20th Century Fox.

Singer's attorney had previously denied the allegations.

Egan has also sued three other entertainment industry executives in Hawaii with sexually abusing him during that time. All three have denied the accusations.

(Reporting by Eric Kelsey; Editing by Piya Sinha-Roy and Mohammad Zargham)

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