UPDATED with HFPA statement, 1, 52 PM: The Hollywood Foreign Press Associated has issued an official statement about to today’s GQ story in which Brendan Fraser said the group considered his 2003 groping by its then-president Philip Berk to be “a joke” and that it refused to show him its report on an internal investigation on the incident.
“The HFPA continues to stand firmly against sexual harassment. As such, we have always taken Brendan Fraser’s allegations very seriously—both when he originally spoke out in 2003 and now again 15 years later. Back then, after an initial inquiry, we provided Mr. Fraser with the exact redress he sought—an acknowledgement of the transgression and an apology. Mr. Fraser continued to attend HFPA events including the Golden Globes. When Mr. Fraser raised the allegations again this year in the March issue of GQ, adding several previously unknown details, we conducted an internal review and then took it upon ourselves to commission an independent investigation into the matter to ensure impartiality. We’ve shared the results of that investigation with Mr. Fraser, and again apologized, but also conveyed our need to abide by the investigation’s finding that the exchange was not an intended sexual advance. We want to reiterate that the HFPA understands today—as it did 15 years ago—that what Mr. Fraser experienced was inappropriate.”
PREVIOUSLY, 9:15 AM: In a February GQ profile, Brendan Fraser said he was groped by then-HFPA president Philip Berk in 2003. In a follow-up story posted today, he told the magazine that the organization completed an internal investigation and proposed that the parties issue a joint statement that said, “Although it was concluded that Mr. Berk inappropriately touched Mr. Fraser, the evidence supports that it was intended to be taken as a joke and not as a sexual advance.”
The actor declined, and he told the magazine in today’s piece that he felt violated — joke or no joke.
Fraser says asked to see the HFPA report on the investigation but only was shown a summary of it. The group cited concerns about witness-confidentiality.
“What I said to them was, ‘Show me the investigator’s report, and then I’ll know what I’m signing off on,’” the actor told GQ.
Fraser added: “They’re kind of behaving like wolves in sheep’s clothing about it, saying, ‘Oh, we want him to heal.’ Well, the first step in that direction would be: What am I healing from? Can I please see this report? What is it?”
And when GQ contacted Berk about whether he remains an HFPA member and Golden Globe voter, he wrote back, “Yes, I certainly am.” He said he wasn’t shown the report on the investigation’s findings either but was told “the statement would absolve me of any wrongdoing.” Was he disciplined over the matter? “Not at all,” he told the magazine.
The actor also told GQ that he has had time to reflect in the months since his #MeToo moment went public. “If I was a woman, I question if Berk would’ve even been in a job in 2003.”
He also said he regrets not talking about the incident when it happened. “It’s about being stripped of your identity, and of a power play being pulled to tamp it down, and being sort of backhandedly complicit in it by keeping quiet, entering into an agreement that you won’t talk,” he told GQ.
A rep for the HFPA, which elected new board members this week, did not immediately respond to Deadline’s request for comment.
After the original GQ article published in February, the HFPA responded with this statement:
“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.”