Brendan Fraser Claims The HFPA Tried To Convince Him That His Groping Complaint Was A Misunderstood “Joke”
There’s many reasons to laugh at Brendan Fraser. Let’s say you’re watching Encino Man, for example, or that meme of him forgetting what clapping is while laughing like a maniac. But there’s nothing funny about the story he told to GQ four month ago in which he alleged former Hollywood Foreign Press Association president Philip Berk groped him at a party in 2003. However, according to a new interview with Brendan, the HFPA wanted to play it off as a joke.
Back in February, Brendan told GQ that when he was 34, Berk reached out to shake his hand, but pulled a fast one and grabbed his ass and slipped a finger between his cheeks. His reps demanded an apology from Berk after it happened, which he received, although Brendan felt it was forced and insincere. He also believed that his invitations to the Golden Globes suddenly dried up. After Brendan’s story broke, the HFPA said they’d conduct an investigation into Brendan’s claims.
GQ recently spoke with Brendan again and he says that the HFPA have concluded their investigation, and the results were not what he was hoping for. The HFPA reached out to him and requested they release a joint statement that would read:
“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.”
A joke is The Tourist getting nominated for Best Comedy at the Golden Globes. Brendan felt the same, and he refused to sign, telling GQ: “I don’t get the joke.” The HFPA also hoped that with both parties signing the statement, they would consider the matter to be concluded. It wasn’t over for Brendan, who reportedly asked to see the investigation report. They allegedly showed him a summary, but wouldn’t show him the full report.
GQ spoke to Berk about the statement. He said he was promised by the HFPA that their statement would absolve him from any guilt. Berk says he’s faced zero discipline from the HFPA, and that he’s still an ongoing member and voter.
Brendan was hoping that Berk would at least be kicked out of the HFPA, but since that’s not happening, Brendan just wants to move on from all of this.
“There’s a system in place that’s unwritten. If you abide by it, you will be rewarded. If you don’t, you won’t be. But outside of that, I want to end this episode, this chapter, in my own life and career and move on, just as I’m hopeful that others will be able to in years to come. It’s not too late. They can still do the right thing.”
Yesterday the HFPA released a statement saying that they take sexual harassment seriously, but also that they still don’t really think Brendan was the victim of sexual harassment.
“The HFPA continues to stand firmly against sexual harassment. As such, we have always taken Brendan Fraser’s allegations very seriously – both when he originally spoke out in 2003 and now again 15 years later. Back then, after an initial inquiry, we provided Mr. Fraser with the exact redress he sought – an acknowledgement of the transgression and an apology. 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. We want to reiterate that the HFPA understands today – as it did 15 years ago – that what Mr. Fraser experienced was inappropriate.”
It sounds like they still believe whatever Philip Berk did with his fingers that night was all just a joke. This makes me wonder what other so-called jokes are in Phil’s repertoire. Actually, no – I don’t want to know what body part Phil might pull a coin from.
Here’s more of Brendan at the L.A. premiere of his new show Condor last night.