Brendan Fraser Claims He Was Groped by Former HFPA President in 2003


Brendan Fraser is opening up about why he originally backed away from Hollywood.

In a new profile forGQ, the 49-year-old actor alleges that one of those reasons for his retreat from the film industry is that he was groped by Philip Berk, former president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, at a luncheon in 2003.

He claims the alleged incident -- which Berk denies -- took place at the Beverly Hills Hotel in Los Angeles, just when he was about to shake hands with Berk and say goodbye. Fraser alleges that at that moment, Berk's left hand "reaches around, grabs my a** cheek, and one of his fingers touches me in the taint. And he starts moving it around."

"I felt ill," he says. "I felt like a little kid. I felt like there was a ball in my throat. I thought I was going to cry."

Fraser didn't want to go public with the allegations at the time, he says, in fear of "humiliation" and that his story would become his "narrative." He also alleges that after 2003, he was rarely invited to the Golden Globes, a statement Berk, who is still an HFPA member, denies.

"[It] made me retreat. It made me feel reclusive," Fraser recalls. "I don’t know if this curried disfavor with the group, with the HFPA. But the silence was deafening."

Fraser claims the alleged sexual assault ultimately led him to become "depressed," and he felt like "something had been taken away" from him.

"I was blaming myself and I was miserable," he says. "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 credits the #MeToo movement and stars like Rose McGowan and Ashley Judd for giving him the courage to finally share his story. "I've worked with them. I call them friends in my mind," he says. "I haven't spoken to them in years, but they're my friends. I watched this wonderful movement, these people with the courage to say what I didn't have the courage to say."

"Am I still frightened? Absolutely," he continues. "Do I feel like I need to say something? Absolutely. Have I wanted to many, many times? Absolutely. Have I stopped myself? Absolutely. And maybe I am overreacting in terms of what the instance was. I just know what my truth is."

GQ reached out to Berk for comment on Fraser's allegations, which he denied, saying, "Mr. Fraser's version is a total fabrication."

Back in the late '90s and early 2000s, Fraser was well known for starring in movies like Encino Man, The Mummy, The Quiet American and Crash. He is set to return to TV on March 25, when Trust premieres on FX.


Mira Sorvino 'Excited' by the #MeToo, Time's Up Movements: 'Honestly for My Daughters'

Rita Moreno Recounts #MeToo Experience Being Stalked by Former Studio Head (Exclusive)

Uma Thurman Breaks Silence on Harvey Weinstein’s Sexual Misconduct, Says ‘Me Too’