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Brendan Fraser says he was sexually molested by Philip Berk, ex-president of Hollywood Foreign Press Association

Actor Brendan Fraser has claimed that he was once groped by the former president of Hollywood Foreign Press Association, Philip Berk. Berk has denied the claims.

hollywood Updated: Feb 23, 2018 13:34 IST
Press Trust of India
Brendan Fraser,Philip Berk,Hollywood Foreign Press Association
Brendan Fraser became a global star after three Mummy movies.

Actor Brendan Fraser has claimed that he was once groped by the former president of Hollywood Foreign Press Association. The non-profit organisation, formed 75 years ago, is the main organiser of the Golden Globes Awards ceremony, which is held annually in January.

In an interview with GQ magazine, the Mummy star said the alleged incident took place during HFPA luncheon at the Beverly Hills Hotel in 2003.

He alleged that former HFPA president, Philip Berk, came to shake his hand when he was leaving the crowded room.

“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,” Fraser said, adding that in that moment he was overcome with panic and fear.

“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,” Fraser added.

In a statement to GQ, Berk, who is still a member of HFPA, denied the allegations and said, “Mr Fraser’s version is a total fabrication.”

Fraser said he talked about the incident with his then wife Afton Smith, and even considered going public but did not. However, he contacted the HFPA through his representatives and reported the incident.

Fraser said his reps asked the HFPA for a written apology. Berk acknowledges that he wrote a letter to Fraser about the incident but said, “My apology admitted no wrongdoing, the usual ‘If I’ve done anything that upset Mr Fraser, it was not intended and I apologise’. “

According to reports, Berk also discussed the incident in his 2014 memoir, claiming he pinched Fraser’s behind in jest.

Fraser said in the wake of the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements, he became determined to come forward with his story.

Brendan Fraser, left, and Mira Sorvino cast members in the AT&T Audience series Condor pose for a portrait during the 2018 Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour. (Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP)

“I know Rose (McGowan), I know Ashley (Judd), I know Mira (Sorvino) - I’ve worked with them. I call them friends in my mind. I haven’t spoken to them in years, but they’re my friends. I watched this wonderful movement, these people with the courage to say what I didn’t have the courage to say,” he said.

“Am I still frightened? Absolutely. Do I feel like I need to say something? Absolutely. Have I wanted to many, many times? Absolutely. Have I stopped myself? Absolutely. And maybe I am over-reacting in terms of what the instance was. I just know what my truth is,” he added.

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association responded to the allegations in a statement, saying they are investigating the incident.

“The HFPA stands firmly against sexual harassment and the type of behaviour 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,” it said in the statement obtained by Variety.

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First Published: Feb 23, 2018 13:28 IST