Brendan Fraser: HFPA Asked Actor to Publicly State His Alleged Sexual Harassment by Former President Was Joke

The actor says that the HFPA recently concluded their investigation into the incident, ultimately asking him to sign an agreement in which he said the act was a joke. He refused.
Actor Brendan Fraser attends a special screening of "Gimme Shelter" hosted by The Cinema Society at the Museum of Modern Art on in New YorkNY Special Screening of "Gimme Shelter", New York, USA - 22 Jan 2014
Brendan Fraser
Evan Agostini/Invision/AP/REX/Shutterstock

UPDATED BELOW. Earlier this year, actor Brendan Fraser detailed his alleged sexual assault to GQ involving the then-president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, Philip Berk. Fraser told the magazine that he was groped by Berk in the summer of 2003. According to the actor, “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.” Later, Berk wrote in his memoir that he did so in jest.

Fraser’s claims soon led to the HFPA opening an investigation into the matter, vowing to delve into “further details” around the alleged incident. At the time, the organization released a statement that read, in part: “The HFPA stands firmly against sexual harassment and the type of behavior described in this article…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.”

While the details of that investigation and report have not been publicly disclosed, Fraser now tells GQ that it has been concluded. The actor was not happy with the results, and even more so with what he says was the proposed outcome.

He told the outlet, “After the HFPA finished its investigation, according to Fraser, the organization contacted him again and proposed issuing a joint 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 told GQ that he declined to sign on to the proposed joint statement. “I don’t get the joke,” he told the outlet. The actor also said that “the HFPA declined to share the full results of their investigation with him, or explain what methodology or evidence they used to draw their conclusion…The HFPA, according to Fraser, showed him a summary of their findings but refused to share the full report the organization said those findings were based on, citing witness-confidentiality concerns.”

Berk is still a member of the HFPA, and when asked by GQ about the findings and his current status, he told the outlet, “I myself was not shown either report…But [I was] told the statement would absolve me of any wrongdoing.”

Read the full interview on right here.

UPDATE: The HFPA has released a new statement, which can be read in full below:

“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.”

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