Brendan Fraser alleges he was groped by HFPA former president, Philip Berk in a bombshell interview. Fraser claims the alleged incident caused him to leave acting.
Brendan Fraser, 49, came forward with allegations that former Hollywood Foreign Press Association president, Philip Berk, groped him back in 2003. In an in-depth interview with GQ published Thursday, February 22, Fraser claimed that one of the reasons he drifted away from Hollywood, years ago was because of the alleged incident, which he said took place at an H.F.P.A. luncheon at the Beverly Hills Hotel. Fraser claimed that when he was leaving the crowded event, Berk approached him to shake his hand goodbye. — This was when the actor claimed Berk assaulted him. “His left hand reaches around, grabs my ass cheek, and one of his fingers touches me in the taint,” Fraser alleged. “And he starts moving it around.”
Fraser explained to the mag that he was overcome by “panic and fear” when Berk allegedly groped him. “I felt ill,” he described. “I felt like a little kid. I felt like there was a ball in my throat. I thought I was going to cry.” Fraser said he quickly left the crowded room and told his wife at the time, Afton, what had happened. Berk has since denied Fraser’s allegations in a statement to GQ, which read in part, “Mr. Fraser’s version is a total fabrication.”
He went on to explain that he had blamed himself after the alleged incident, something many female actresses have said recently about their alleged incidents of misconduct with Harvey Weinstein, 65. “I became depressed. I was blaming myself and I was miserable — because I was saying, ‘This is nothing; this guy reached around and he copped a feel.’ That summer wore on—and I can’t remember what I went on to work on next.”
Fraser admitted that he considered going public with his allegations, but later decided not to speak out in fear of public humiliation and damaging his career. “I didn’t want to contend with how that made me feel, or it becoming part of my narrative.” Instead, his team asked the H.F.P.A. for a written apology. Berk told GQ that he did write to the actor, but “my apology admitted no wrongdoing, the usual ‘If I’ve done anything that upset Mr. Fraser, it was not intended and I apologize.’”
The Mummy star revealed that the alleged incident weighed on him and subsequently led him to feel reclusive. He claimed, after the alleged groping, the H.F.P.A. seldomly invited him back to the Golden Globes. “I don’t know if this curried disfavor with the group, with the H.F.P.A. But the silence was deafening,” he said. Berk too denied this, telling GQ that the H.F.P.A. did not blacklist the actor. “His [Fraser’s] career declined through no fault of ours.”
The actor said the alleged incident still haunts him. “Am I still frightened? Absolutely,” he admitted. “Do I feel like I need to say something? Absolutely. Have I wanted to many, many times? Absolutely. Have I stopped myself? Absolutely. And maybe I am over-reacting in terms of what the instance was. I just know what my truth is.”
Fraser also added that he has been observing the #MeToo movement and it’s affect in Hollywood. He praised women who’ve come forward about alleged sexual misconduct, including Rose McGowan, Ashley Judd, and Mira Sorvino. Fraser even admitted that he’s worked with these women. “I call them friends in my mind. I haven’t spoken to them in years, but they’re my friends. I watched this wonderful movement, these people with the courage to say what I didn’t have the courage to say.”
Before the alleged incident, Fraser was best known for his films, The Mummy , The Quiet American  and Crash . Now, he can be seen as James Fletcher Chace in Danny Boyle’s FX series Trust, which premieres on March 25.
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