Brendan Fraser denies groping was a ‘joke’
BRENDAN Fraser isn't done fighting the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.
The organisation investigated Fraser's claims that former HFPA president Philip Berk groped him in 2003, but ultimately said in a proposed statement - which was later shut down by Fraser - that Berk's alleged actions should've been taken as a "joke," the actor 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 proposed statement from the organisation read, as Fraser shared with GQ.
"I don't get the joke," Fraser told GQ. "I'm the only one who would know where I was touched on my body."
In February, Fraser recalled the alleged incident to the magazine, saying Berk's "left hand reaches around, grabs my ass cheek, and one of his fingers touches me in the taint. And he starts moving it around."
Berk denied Fraser's claims, calling them a "total fabrication".
The proposed statement from the HFPA also said the organisation "looked forward" to continuing to work with the Bedazzled actor, he said. Fraser refused to sign it.
"What I said to them was, 'Show me the investigator's report, and then I'll know what I'm signing off on.'"
The HFPA declined, according to Fraser, who said all he saw was a summary of the group's findings, citing witness-confidentiality concerns.
"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? They commissioned an investigation. They received their report. And they're not giving any details about it, and they're not giving up the report itself."
When asked if he faced disciplinary action, Berk told GQ, "none at all".
The HFPA didn't comment for GQ's story.
Fraser, who now appears in the TV series Trust, ultimately wants to move forward and help others.
"I want to find some way to make medicine out of this poison, which is not specific just to this enterprise," Fraser shared. "There's a system in place that's unwritten. If you abide by it, you will be rewarded. If you don't, you won't be.
"But outside of that, I want to end this episode, this chapter, in my own life and career and move on, just as I'm hopeful that others will be able to in years to come."
According to the actor, he was groped during a luncheon at the Beverly Hills Hotel.
"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," he told the magazine.
Fraser claimed he left the event immediately and didn't tell anyone other than his wife about the incident.
"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 explained that the encounter "made me retreat. It made me feel reclusive".
Afterwards, the actor felt shunned by the Association.
"I don't know if this curried disfavour with the group, with the HFPA. But the silence was deafening."
This story originally appeared in NY Post and is republished here with permission.