Brendan Fraser Claims Groping By HFPA President In 2003: Report

Associated Press

Brendan Fraser claims he was groped in 2003 by Philip Berk, then president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, an experience Fraser says left him depressed and miserable.

The allegation comes in a current GQ profile of Fraser titled “What Ever Happened to Brendan Fraser?”

Berk tells the magazine that Fraser’s version is “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.

Here is how Fraser describes the incident, which occurred at the Beverly Hills Hotel during an HFPA luncheon, to GQ:  “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. 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.”

After immediately leaving the luncheon, Fraser told his wife of the interaction but otherwise remained silent for fear of embarrassment and career damage. “I didn’t want to contend with how that made me feel, or it becoming part of my narrative. 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 says the experience “made me retreat. It made me feel reclusive.” His career seemed on hold. “I don’t know if this curried disfavor with the group, with the HFPA. But the silence was deafening.” Fraser tells GQ he was rarely invited back to the Globes after 2003. Berk tells the magazine the HFPA never retaliated against Fraser: “His career declined through no fault of ours.”

“Am I still frightened? Absolutely,” he tells GQ. “Do I feel like I need to say something? Absolutely. Have I wanted to many, many times? Absolutely. Have I stopped myself? Absolutely.”

In the article, Berk says he wrote a letter to Fraser about the incident but “admitted no wrongdoing.”

Deadline has asked HFPA for comment.

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