Brendan Fraser

Hollywood Foreign Press Association Denied Brendan Fraser’s Claims of Sexual Harassment, Refer to His Assault as a “Joke”

Recommended Videos

When Brendan Fraser’s interview came out this past February in GQ, in which he claimed to have been sexually harassed by Philip Berk, former president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), it broke my heart. The article did a deft job of showing how Fraser was traumatized by not only the action itself but the aftermath from the organization itself.

In a follow-up from GQ, Zach Baron talks about what the HFPA has failed to do regarding Fraser and his accusations. According to Fraser, the organization’s inquiry has now ended.

In April, he says, an independent investigator contacted him and interviewed him about the incident, which took place at the Beverly Hills Hotel in the summer of 2003. There, as Fraser originally recounted to me, he was groped by former HFPA president Philip Berk: “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.” (Berk denied this: “Mr. Fraser’s version is a total fabrication.” Berk said he pinched Fraser in jest, in reference to a false gossip item he’d read about Fraser doing the same to someone else.

After the investigation, according to Fraser, he was contacted by the organization and they offered to issue a joint statement that stated: “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 HFPA apologized to Fraser in the proposed statement and said that: “All parties consider this matter to be concluded.” The HFPA wrote that it looked forward “to continuing to work with Mr. Fraser.” Philip Berk, in an e-mail, confirmed that his ongoing status as an active voter in the HFPA continued.

Fraser declined to sign.

“I don’t get the joke,” he told Baron. He was not interested in whatever Berk’s intentions might have been, it did not erase the violation. “I’m the only one who would know where I was touched on my body.”

Fraser continued on to say that what he really wants is for Berk to be held accountable and to not be silenced about his experience. “It’s about being stripped of your identity, and of a power play being pulled to tamp it down, and being sort of backhandedly complicit in it by keeping quiet, entering into an agreement that you won’t talk.”

“It’s not too late,” he said. “They can still do the right thing.”

When Baron reached out to Berk for comment about any punishment he may have received his response was “none at all” and that he was told that “the  statement would absolve me of any wrongdoing.”

(via GQ, image: Larry Busacca/Getty Images for A+E Networks)

Want more stories like this? Become a subscriber and support the site!

The Mary Sue has a strict comment policy that forbids, but is not limited to, personal insults toward anyone, hate speech, and trolling.—


The Mary Sue is supported by our audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a small affiliate commission. Learn more
related content
Read Article ‘Live Through This’ Is 30 and I’m Still Mad About That Kurt Cobain Rumor
'Live Through This' album cover and Kurt Cobain/Courtney Love
Read Article J.K. Rowling’s Legal Threat to Journalists for Calling Out Holocaust Denial Backfires
J.K. Rowling
Read Article The Attacks on HBCUs Extend Beyond Tennessee
Protesters in Nashville hold a press conference to protest state repubilicans voting to vacate the entire board of HBCU Tennessee State University.
Read Article Black Creatives Sign Open Letter in Solidarity With ‘Romeo and Juliet’ Actress Francesca Amewudah-Rivers
Tom Holland and Francesca Amewudah-Rivers in red for Romeo and Juliet
Read Article Grace Jabbari Responds to Jonathan Majors’ Sentencing in Domestic Abuse Case
Jonathan Majors leaves the Manhattan Criminal Court after his sentencing in domestic abuse case
Related Content
Read Article ‘Live Through This’ Is 30 and I’m Still Mad About That Kurt Cobain Rumor
'Live Through This' album cover and Kurt Cobain/Courtney Love
Read Article J.K. Rowling’s Legal Threat to Journalists for Calling Out Holocaust Denial Backfires
J.K. Rowling
Read Article The Attacks on HBCUs Extend Beyond Tennessee
Protesters in Nashville hold a press conference to protest state repubilicans voting to vacate the entire board of HBCU Tennessee State University.
Read Article Black Creatives Sign Open Letter in Solidarity With ‘Romeo and Juliet’ Actress Francesca Amewudah-Rivers
Tom Holland and Francesca Amewudah-Rivers in red for Romeo and Juliet
Read Article Grace Jabbari Responds to Jonathan Majors’ Sentencing in Domestic Abuse Case
Jonathan Majors leaves the Manhattan Criminal Court after his sentencing in domestic abuse case
Author
Princess Weekes
Princess (she/her-bisexual) is a Brooklyn born Megan Fox truther, who loves Sailor Moon, mythology, and diversity within sci-fi/fantasy. Still lives in Brooklyn with her over 500 Pokémon that she has Eevee trained into a mighty army. Team Zutara forever.