The Hollywood Foreign Press Association says it was “previously unaware” of information alleged in a GQ article by The Mummy actor Brendan Fraser against the HFPA’s Philip Berk and is investigating the matter.
A statement from the HFPA reads in full:
“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.”
In the article, Fraser claims he was groped in 2003 by Berk, then HFPA president, at the Beverly Hills Hotel during an HFPA luncheon. “His left hand reaches around, grabs my ass cheek, and one of his fingers touches me in the taint,” Fraser says in the article. “And he starts moving it around. 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.”
Berk is quoted in the magazine calling Fraser’s version a “total fabrication.” In Berk’s memoir, he recounts the incident, in which he placed his hand on Fraser’s butt during a hug, as a jest.
Fraser tells GQ that the experience “made me retreat. It made me feel reclusive.” He says he was rarely invited back to the Globes after 2003, and wonders whether he was somehow blackballed by the organization. Berk tells the magazine the HFPA never retaliated against Fraser: “His career declined through no fault of ours.”