Brendan Fraser has revealed that he was groped by a Hollywood executive, but he didn't publicly speak about it over fears that it would damage his career. The 49-year-old actor told GQ about a groping incident that he didn't want to discuss until he saw abuse accusations come out as part of Hollywood's #MeToo movement. He explained that he didn't have “the courage to speak up for risk of humiliation, or damage to my career.”
The actor said that he was at the Beverly Hills Hotel for a luncheon held by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) in 2003 when the incident of sexual abuse occurred. HFPA is the powerful organization that hosts the Golden Globes. Fraser alleged that the former president of the organization, Philip Berk, reached out to shake his hand. Fraser alleged that the executive then groped him.
“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,” he said.
“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," said Fraser. He was so shocked and embarrassed that he rushed out of the room, past a police officer. He relayed the incident to his then-wife.
“I felt like someone had thrown invisible paint on me," he said.
Fraser said that the incident caused him personal turmoil: “I became depressed. I was blaming myself and I was miserable — because I was saying, ‘This is nothing; this guy reached around and he copped a feel.’ That summer wore on — and I can't remember what I went on to work on next.”
Fraser said that he received a written apology from Berk, and HFPA promised he would never have to be in a room with Berk alone again. Berk admitted to apologizing for the encounter previously, but explained that it was more to appease the actor, per The New York Times. He denied the allegation made by Fraser that he had to be kept away from the actor.
Fraser, who once had a rising and prolific film career, wondered if his career cooled off because HFPA was seeking retribution over his speaking out.
"I don't know if this curried disfavor with the group, with the HFPA. But the silence was deafening,” he said, citing that he was rarely invited back to the Golden Globes.
Berk, who is still a HFPA member, denied any retaliation against Fraser or his career: “His career declined through no fault of ours.” GQ asked Berk for confirmation on the incident.
He disputed the account and said, “Mr. Fraser's version is a total fabrication."
Fraser said that he was encouraged to speak out after seeing the women of Hollywood and the #MeToo moment. He cited actresses like Rose McGowan and Ashley Judd as being courageous to speak up against sexual abuse and harassment in the entertainment industry.
"I watched this wonderful movement, these people with the courage to say what I didn't have the courage to say,” he explained.
HFPA did not comment for the interview.
[Photo: Getty Images]