In an in-depth interview published by GQ earlier this year, actor Brendan Fraser detailed an alleged sexual assault involving the then-president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, Philip Berk.
Fraser described: “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” (an incident that Berk claimed is a “complete fabrication”).
He said the incident made him feel “ill… like a little kid… like there was a ball in my throat” and that he became “depressed” and “reclusive” afterwards.
Days after the interview was published, the HPFA announced they had launched a formal investigation into the allegations.
GQ has now published a follow-up interview with Fraser in which the actor claims that the HPFA denied his sexual harassment allegations and said that the incident with Berk was "a joke."
Fraser was issued with a statement which 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 organization also apologized to Fraser in the proposed statement and suggested a forward-looking resolution: "All parties consider this matter to be concluded."
Fraser said he declined to sign on to the proposed joint statement. "I don't get the joke," he said. "I'm the only one who would know where I was touched on my body."
The HPFA declined to share the full results of their investigation with the actor.
Berk told GQ that he never saw the report but he was "told the statement would absolve me of any wrongdoing." He said he received no discipline from the HFPA.
The HPFA have issued a statement since the publication of the latest GQ article which reads:
“The HFPA continues to stand firmly against sexual harassment. As such, we have always taken Brendan Fraser’s allegations very seriously—both when he originally spoke out in 2003 and now again 15 years later. 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.”