HFPA claims its former president inappropriately touched Brendan Fraser 'in jest'

Ben Arnold
Contributor
Brendan Fraser (Credit: Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the organisation behind the Golden Globes, has admitted that its former president Philip Berk touched actor Brendan Fraser inappropriately, but that he did so in jest.

Fraser made the claims in an interview with GQ earlier this year, saying that Berk grabbed him while at a event being held by the organisation in 2003.

But now, after an investigation into the incident, the Fraser has said that the HFPA contacted him and wanted to issue a joint statement claiming that it was harmless.

According to Fraser, the statement read: “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 planned statement reportedly also apologised to Fraser and added ‘All parties consider this matter to be concluded’, and the HFPA looked forward to ‘continuing to work with Mr. Fraser’.

Speaking to GQ, Fraser said that he refused to go along with the proposed statement, adding: “I don’t get the joke.

“What I said to them was, ‘Show me the investigator’s report, and then I’ll know what I’m signing off on.’

“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.”

HFPA president Philip Berk (Credit: Getty)

It’s since released its own statement to The Wrap following Fraser’s latest remarks.

“We have always taken Brendan Fraser’s allegations very seriously–both when he originally spoke out in 2003 and now again 15 years later,” it read.

“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.”

In the original claim, Fraser told the magazine that Berk groped him, adding: “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. I felt like someone had thrown invisible paint on me.

“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.”

Berk denied the claims, calling his version of event ‘a total fabrication’.

Fraser, however, said that after the alleged incident his acting work ‘withered on the vine’.

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