HFPA Investigating Brendan Fraser Sexual Assault Claim Against Former President
In a candid interview with GQ published Thursday, the actor alleged that former HFPA president Philip Berk sexually assaulted him, which led to his disappearance from the spotlight.
The Hollywood Foreign Press Association is investigating Brendan Fraser's claims against former president of the organization Philip Berk, who, the actor alleges, sexually assaulted him.
"The HFPA stands firmly against sexual harassment and the type of behavior described in this article," the organization, which presents the Golden Globes, said in a statement. "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."
In a candid article with GQ published Thursday, Fraser claimed that Berk sexually assaulted him in 2003. “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,” Fraser revealed to the publication. "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."
Fraser attributes his disappearance from the spotlight to the alleged assault. Though Berk has denied the accusations, Fraser claims that Berk apologized in a letter, with the HFPA later stating that it would never allow the pair to be in the same room together again.
Berk addressed the accusations in his 2014 book, With Signs and Wonders. Berk wrote that during an HFPA installation event, he had asked Fraser about a rumor that the actor had pinched the female HFPA president during the prior year’s Golden Globes. To demonstrate, Berk explained that he pinched Fraser’s bottom. According to Berk, this later led to Fraser claiming, “He pinched my ass” or “He touched my bod.”
Berk originally thought it was a joke, until he received a letter from the actor’s publicist threatening legal action against him and the association, which then resulted in Berk writing an apology letter. That letter was then written about in a story for The New York Times. Wrote Berk, “Unfortunately the incident has hounded me ever since.”