Brendan Fraser says the organization behind the Golden Globes brushed off his alleged sexual assault at the hands of its former president as “a joke.”
The star of the “The Mummy” trilogy and “George of the Jungle” is speaking out again after he told GQ earlier this year that Philip Berk, the former president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, groped him at a 2003 luncheon in Beverly Hills.
In a new interview published Wednesday, Fraser told GQ’s Zach Baron that the association recently concluded its investigation into the incident by finding Berk’s actions did not constitute sexual assault. While the organization found the groping to be inappropriate, he said, it determined the incident was “intended to be taken as a joke.”
Berk has also said that his actions were in jest and that Fraser’s account “is a total fabrication.”
“I don’t get the joke,” Fraser said.
In his original GQ interview from February, Fraser described the alleged groping as follows: “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.”
In April, Fraser said, he recounted what happened to an independent investigator the HFPA hired. After the association completed its investigation, it contacted him to apologize and proposed issuing a joint statement about the incident that would absolve Berk of wrongdoing and say that all parties have resolved the matter, he told GQ.
The actor says he declined to issue the joint statement.
Berk told the magazine that he remains in good standing with the HFPA and did not receive any disciplinary action.
“The HFPA continues to stand firmly against sexual harassment,” the group said in a statement to HuffPost. “As such, we have always taken Brendan Fraser’s allegations very seriously.”
Fraser said he sought an apology from the the HFPA and Berk soon after the incident in 2003, but did not go public with his story until 2018. Berk told GQ that he apologized to Fraser in a letter that “admitted no wrongdoing.”
The actor said the experience impacted his career and made him depressed. He was rarely invited back to the Golden Globes afterward, he added.
“I think I’m just the first brick in the path,” he told GQ. “Maybe someone else will put another brick down and the path will continue on. I don’t know.”
Fraser went public with his account in wake of the Me Too movement, which has roiled Hollywood and other industries nationwide. He is one of a few male figures to come forward with experiences of abuse, including Terry Crews and Anthony Rapp.
Fraser did not respond to a request for comment.
Need help? Visit RAINN’s National Sexual Assault Online Hotline or the National Sexual Violence Resource Center’s website.