Brendan Fraser is the latest actor to come forward with his story of sexual assault in the wake of the #MeToo and Time’s Up movement.s
Brendan Fraser is sharing his own Me Too experience and says a 15-year-old assault may have contributed to the derailment of his career.
In a new interview with GQ, The Mummy star reveals he was groped in 2003 by Philip Berk, a former president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.
The incident happened in public at a summer luncheon held by the HFPA (which hosts the Golden Globes annually). In the midst of a crowded room, Fraser says, Berk reached out to shake the actor’s hand, but instead grabbed his butt.
“His left hand reaches around, grabs my ass cheek, and one of his fingers touches me in the taint. And he starts moving it around,” Fraser told the magazine, recalling becoming overcome with panic and fear.
Eventually, he was able to remove Berk’s hand. “I felt ill. I felt like a little kid. I felt like there was a ball in my throat. I thought I was going to cry,” he says. Fraser went home and told his then-wife, Afton Smith, what happened.
Berk, no longer president of the HFPA but still a member, told GQ Fraser’s version of events “is a total fabrication.”
Why didn’t Fraser go public? “I didn’t want to contend with how that made me feel, or it becoming part of my narrative,” he says now. But at the time, his reps did ask the HFPA for a written apology from Berk, and received one, though Berk says his apology admitted no wrongdoing.
People reports in his 2014 memoir With Signs and Wonders: My Journey from Darkest Africa to the Bright Lights of Hollywood, Berk recalled pinching Fraser’s butt “in jest.”
The event left Fraser depressed and reclusive, he says, adding that he was rarely invited back to the Globes after 2003.
The actor, 49, who can be seen next month in FX’s Getty family drama Trust, says the experience messed with his sense of “who I was and what I was doing.” Work, he says, “withered on the vine for me. In my mind, at least, something had been taken away from me.”
The HFPA responded late Thursday, saying in a statement that the group “stands firmly against sexual harassment and the type of behavior described in this article. Over the years we’ve continued a positive working relationship with Brendan, which includes announcing Golden Globe nominees, attending the ceremony and participating in press conferences. This report includes alleged information that the HFPA was previously unaware of and at this time we are investigating further details surrounding the incident.”
Fraser is not the only male star taking action over assault claims. Terry Crews is suing the Hollywood agent he accused of groping him last year at an industry event.
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