Chad's World was an online show created in 1998 about a gay teenage boy from Michigan who was questioning his sexuality. A pilot episode was produced.
It was created by Digital Entertainment Network, or DEN, a dot-com-era company that sought to pioneer early online video and entertainment.
DEN's founder was Marc Collins-Rector, who was accused of hosting parties at an Encino, Calif., mansion where he and other adult men who worked in the entertainment industry — including X-Men director Bryan Singer — allegedly sexually abused teenage boys.
The cast of Chad's World included several young men, including Brian Stark, who starred as 15-year-old Chad.
Seann William Scott, who later played Steve Stifler in American Pie, was cast in the role of Jim, Chad's brother's boyfriend.
In the show's pilot episode, Chad convinces his friend and neighbor Paul to tell his parents he's gay.
But Paul's parents don't take it very well.
Chad's parents, worried about living across the street from Paul's family following the suicide, suggest Chad move in with his brother and brother's boyfriend who live in Los Angeles, something Chad had been begging to do for years.
Kevin and boyfriend Jim arrive in black towncars, accompanied by bodyguards to pick Chad up. While Kevin and Chad talk inside...
...Jim and the bodyguards get in an argument with Paul's father across the street on his driveway and beat him.
In Los Angeles, Kevin and Jim live with another man named Robert, whom Chad appears to know.
And he's given a car.
There are a number of parallels between Chad's World and Collins-Rector, the DEN founder. Like the characters in the show, he lived in a Los Angeles-area mansion with two other men.
Collins-Rector lived with Chad Shackley, then 24, who dropped out of a Michigan high school to live with him. According to a suit filed Wednesday in a Hawaii federal court, the two had a sexual relationship.
Brock Pierce, then 17, also lived in the mansion. Pierce, who acted in the Mighty Ducks films and First Kid when he was younger, produced Chad's World.
"Sordid parties" were held at the M & C Estate that included drugs, alcohol, and sexual contact between adult men and teenage boys, according to the suit filed by Michael Egan, who accused X-Men director Bryan Singer of abusing him at the parties.
Multiple lawsuits have been filed against Collins-Rector in several jurisdictions, including suits alleging sexual abuse by former DEN employees who were teenagers at the time.
Three men including Michael Egan, who accused Singer of sexual abuse Wednesday, and Alexander Burton, who played Pyro in the first X-Men film, filed a suit in a Los Angeles Superior Court in July 2000. Attorney Jacob Arash Shahbaz, who represented the plaintiffs, said the suit was over alleged sexual abuse.
DEN sometimes hired teenagers who weren't qualified for their jobs, a former supervisor told the Los Angeles Times in 2000, and favored employees were invited to the M & C Estate and encouraged to spend the night.
One former supervisor said Collins-Rector directed him to hire certain teenagers who weren't qualified for the jobs they sought. "He would come to me with ultimatums on who I should hire," said the former manager, who spoke on condition of anonymity. "Young hip kids were his thing."
Some workers said they felt compelled to do things well outside their job descriptions. One young employee said he was told that "if he valued his job" he would travel with Collins-Rector and his young executives, Shackley and Pierce, on a vacation to a tropical resort last spring.
The employee complained to his supervisor, who confirmed the account to the Times, but who said he didn't report the matter to top executives because they worked for Collins-Rector. The teenager said that he felt compelled to make the trip and that Shackley made a sexual pass at him. After he rejected the proposition, the teenager said, the trip ended early.