Brendan Fraser Says Golden Globes Organization Admits Member ‘Inappropriately Touched’ Him in 2003

HFPA told actor it was meant to be taken as a joke

Brendan Fraser
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The Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the body responsible for putting on the Golden Globe Awards, has finished its internal investigation into accusations made by actor Brendan Fraser that former HFPA President Philip Berk sexually assaulted him in 2003, the actor told GQ.

Fraser said the HFPA had concluded its investigation and found that Berk did in fact assault him, and that the organization said it was meant to be taken in jest.

The incident, which Berk himself recounted in his memoir that was reported by TheWrap founder and CEO Sharon Waxman — who at the time worked for The New York Times — gained traction after a previous February profile of Fraser in GQ.

Update: In a statement emailed to TheWrap on Wednesday, the HFPA detailed its position on its handling of Fraser’s accusations, saying the organization stands against sexual harassment and “provided Mr. Fraser with the exact redress he sought,” dating back to when he initially “spoke out in 2003.”

“We have always taken Brendan Fraser’s allegations very seriously–both when he originally spoke out in 2003 and now again 15 years later,” the HFPA statement read. “Back then, after an initial inquiry, we provided Mr. Fraser with the exact redress he sought–an acknowledgement of the transgression and an apology,” the HFPA said in its statement. “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,” the organization continued. “We want to reiterate that the HFPA understands today–as it did 15 years ago–that what Mr. Fraser experienced was inappropriate.”

In GQ’s February article Fraser said: “His left hand reaches around, grabs my a- cheek, and one of his fingers touches me in the taint. And he starts moving it around.” When he was finally able to remove Berk’s hand, he added, “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.”

Berk has said he pinched Fraser as a joke, in reference to what he had heard about “The Mummy” actor doing the same to someone else.

In Fraser’s latest interview with GQ that published on Wednesday, the actor said the HFPA apologized to him and offered to issue a joint statement. “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 statement read, according to Fraser.

Fraser said he declined to sign off on the apology. “I don’t get the joke,” he told the magazine. The HFPA’s statement to TheWrap on Wednesday made no mention of a joke.