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- Actor Brendan Fraser said in a recent interview with GQ that he was groped in 2003 by Philip Berk, a former president of the Hollywood Foreign Press.
- Fraser said that the incident made him “retreat” from the Hollywood spotlight.
- Berk, who previously described the incident in a memoir as being done in jest, told GQ that Fraser’s version of the incident was a “total fabrication.” He also admitted to writing an “apology” letter to Fraser.
- The HFPA said on Friday that it was “previously unaware” of the incident as Fraser alleged it, and that it is currently investigating the matter.
Actor Brendan Fraser said in a recent interview with GQ that he was groped by a former president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, Philip Berk, after an HFPA luncheon in 2003. Fraser said that the incident played a part in his decision to “retreat” from the Hollywood spotlight.
Fraser, who starred in a number of leading roles in successful movies throughout the 1990s, including “The Mummy,” has been largely absent from the same leading film roles since the early 2000s.
The 49-year-old actor told GQ that the incident was one of the sources of his career’s standstill. Fraser recounted the incident in detail, which GQ reported that Berk had previously described in a memoir as being done in jest.
“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,” Fraser 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.”
Fraser said the experience “made me retreat. It made me feel reclusive.” He said that he wondered if the HFPA had blacklisted him, as he was rarely invited to the Golden Globe Awards after the incident.
Berk responded to GQ in an email, saying that Fraser’s account of the incident was “a total fabrication.”
Fraser also said that his representatives asked the HFPA for a written apology. Berk acknowledged to GQ that he wrote an “apology” letter to Fraser, but said that it “admitted no wrongdoing, the usual ‘If I’ve done anything that upset Mr. Fraser, it was not intended and I apologize.'”
The HFPA responded to the story in a statement to Deadline on Friday, saying that it was “ppreviously unaware” of the incident as Fraser alleged it, and is currently “investigating further details surrounding the incident.”