×

Brendan Fraser Says HFPA Ex-President Sexually Assaulted Him

UPDATED: Brendan Fraser is joining the #MeToo movement, coming forward on Thursday with allegations of sexual assault by an ex-president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.

In a new interview with GQ, “The Mummy” star alleges that the HFPA’s Philip Berk assaulted him at the Beverly Hills Hotel in the summer of 2003.

“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,” the actor said. Berk recounted the incident in his memoir “With Signs and Wonders,” but said he pinched Fraser’s behind as a joke. According to Fraser, though, it wasn’t a joke, and he was overcome with fear and had 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. He rushed home and told his wife about the encounter, but was afraid to go public with the incident as, “I didn’t want to contend with how that made me feel, or it becoming part of my narrative.”

Fraser, through his reps, asked the HFPA for an apology, which Berk says he wrote, but added “My apology admitted no wrongdoing, the usual ‘If I’ve done anything that upset Mr. Fraser, it was not intended and I apologize.’” Berk, who took a six-month leave of absence from the HFPA in April 2014 following backlash from his memoir but is still a member, denied the claim in an e-mail to GQ, saying “Mr. Fraser’s version is a total fabrication.”

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association responded in a statement that reads:

“The HFPA 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.”

The actor said that the incident made him reclusive and he retreated from public life. He questioned if the HFPA blacklisted him as a result, since he was rarely invited back to the Golden Globes, which the HFPA runs, after 2003. He believes it’s partly why his career derailed, and said “The phone does stop ringing in your career, and you start asking yourself why. There’s many reasons, but was this one of them? I think it was.”

Fraser added that he was emboldened to come forward by the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements, saying “I know Rose [McGowan], I know Ashley [Judd], I know Mira [Sorvino] — I’ve worked with them. 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.”

“Am I still frightened? Absolutely. Do I feel like I need to say something? Absolutely. Have I wanted to many, many times? Absolutely. Have I stopped myself? Absolutely,” Fraser said in the interview. “Maybe I am over-reacting in terms of what the instance was. I just know what my truth is.”

In the GQ piece Fraser also discussed the physical dangers of stunt work, which he described as “destructive,” particularly for the three “Mummy” films he starred in. By the time he was working on the series’ third film in 2008,  “I was put together with tape and ice… I was building an exoskeleton for myself daily.” Eventually these injuries resulted in multiple surgeries, including a laminectomy, a partial knee replacement, back and vocal cord surgeries that amounted to seven years in and out of hospitals.

“I felt like the horse from ‘Animal Farm,’ whose job it was to work and work and work,” he said. “Orwell wrote a character who was, I think, the proletariat. He worked for the good of the whole, he didn’t ask questions, he didn’t make trouble until it killed him. … I don’t know if I’ve been sent to the glue factory, but I’ve felt like I’ve had to rebuild s— that I’ve built that got knocked down and do it again for the good of everyone. Whether it hurts you or not.”

More Film

  • Tiny: The Life of Erin Blackwell

    Film Review: 'TINY: The Life of Erin Blackwell'

    “Streetwise,”  the classic and haunting 1984 documentary about homeless street kids in Seattle, is a movie that’s now 35 years old. But for anyone who has seen it, the children it’s about — drifters, hustlers, squatters, thieves, prostitutes — remain frozen in time. And none of them was ever more memorable than Tiny, the 14-year-old [...]

  • Animation Studio Fire

    Revenge Motive May Have Sparked Kyoto Animation Arson Attack

    Japanese media is speculating that revenge was the motivation for the arson attack on Kyoto Animation which killed 33 people on Thursday. Investigative sources quoted by Jiji Press on Friday said that the man in custody had a grudge against the studio. “Since [the studio] stole my novel, I poured out the liquid and set [...]

  • Terminator: Dark Fate Gabriel Luna

    'Terminator: Dark Fate' Cast Proud of Latinx Representation in Latest Installment

    The stars of the Tim Miller-directed “Terminator: Dark Fate” stormed the stage of San Diego Comic-Con’s Hall H on Thursday, but it wasn’t until after the panel — which included appearances from Arnold Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton — that Natalia Reyes, Gabriel Luna and Diego Boneta reflected on what makes the upcoming installment in the [...]

  • It

    Producer Sues Warner Bros. Over 'It' Film Adaptations

    A producer who developed the original “It” TV miniseries sued Warner Bros. on Thursday, alleging the studio breached his contract by making the films “It” and “It Chapter Two” without him. Frank Konigsberg and Larry Sanitsky were running Telepictures in the early 1980s when they acquired the rights to the Stephen King novel. They developed [...]

  • Animation Studio Fire

    Kyoto Arson Attack: Animation Community Mourns Colleagues

    Thursday’s deadly attack on Japan’s Kyoto Animation studios left many in the animation community shocked and horrified by the loss of 33 of their colleagues. Another 36 people were injured in the attack, which was Japan’s deadliest ever. A suspect was arrested after pouring a flammable liquid inside the building, which caught fire and trapped [...]

  • Nicolas Cage

    Film News Roundup: Nicolas Cage's '10 Double Zero' Completes Financing

    In today’s film news roundup, financing has been secured for a Nicolas Cage police drama, feature drama “Topside” is unveiled and the late Tom Snyder is getting a tribute from his daughter. FINANCING COMPLETED DCR Finance Corp. has signed a deal to complete the financing for Nicolas Cage’s upcoming crime drama “10 Double Zero.” The [...]

  • Matt Damon and Tom McCarthy Team

    Matt Damon Teams with 'Spotlight' Director Tom McCarthy on New Film (EXCLUSIVE)

    Even as buzz grows for his upcoming race car drama “Ford v. Ferrari,” Matt Damon looks to keep the pedal to the metal: the A-lister is set to star in the Participant Media feature film “Stillwater” with Tom McCarthy directing. Damon attached himself in May, and the package was quickly acquired by Participant, who previously [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content