Brendan Fraser Says He Will Not Attend The Golden Globes If He’s Nominated For “The Whale” Because Of The Former HFPA Member Who Groped Him
In 2018, Brendan Fraser went public with his #MeToo story. He shared that, back in 2003, he was groped at a party by Philip Berk, the former president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. In 2021, Philip was expelled from HFPA after emailing an article to his fellow members that described Black Lives Matter as a “racist hate movement.” Creepy and racist? What a guy! Fast forward to now. Brendan is getting awards buzz for his performance in The Whale. In an interview with GQ for their Man of the Year cover story (he’s their Comeback of the Year), 53-year-old Brendan says that if he ends up getting nominated for a Golden Globe, he won’t go to the ceremony. He explains he has “more history” with HFPA than he has respect for HFPA, adding, “My mother didn’t raise a hypocrite.”
Brendan told GQ it still upsets him to talk about the groping incident, in which Philip allegedly grabbed his butt cheek and poked a finger inside his crack, via The Hollywood Reporter:
The actor admitted to “feeling a little bit of a heart palpitation discussing this,” adding that talking about his experience can still trigger him, “but it’s OK because my hope is that I can be recognized at this time in my life and career for my professional efforts, rather than the trope of the comeback kid as being a standard in culture, sports, coming from behind, being written off and then coming back.”
After the 2003 groping, Brendan’s reps asked HFPA for a written apology, and he received a shitty sorta-apology from Philip. After that, Brendan felt blacklisted by the organization and was rarely invited to the Golden Globes. When Brendan’s story made headlines in early 2018, Philip called it a “total fabrication.” Except, in both his memoirs and a New York Times interview years before, Philip had admitted something went down. But he says it was only a butt pinch.
HFPA responded to Brendan’s allegations by issuing a statement about not standing for sexual harassment. They also said they’d investigate. Eventually, their “investigation” concluded that Philip’s grope was no biggie. HFPA asked Brendan to sign off on a joint statement stating that, yes, the incident took place, but Philip was only joking around. Brendan refused and asked to see the investigation report. HFPA wouldn’t let him. That’s when Brendan called for Philip to resign from HFPA. But, again, nothing happened, and Philip confirmed he hadn’t been disciplined for his actions. Brendan tells GQ that, based on this shitty experience with HFPA, he will not go to the 2023 ceremony if he’s nominated for The Whale:
“I have more history with the Hollywood Foreign Press Association than I have respect for the Hollywood Foreign Press Association,” Fraser said when asked about whether he’d be involved with a Golden Globes ceremony if nominated. “No, I will not participate.”
“It’s because of the history that I have with them. And my mother didn’t raise a hypocrite. You can call me a lot of things, but not that,” he added.
When asked about the organization’s response, or lack thereof, when he opened up about his experience with Berk, Fraser said the Globes likely proceeded with that year’s awards ceremony “because it was too prickly or sharp-edged or icky for people to want to go first and invest emotionally in the situation.”
He adds that HFPA’s reaction to going public with his story didn’t surprise him:
“I knew they would close ranks,” he explained. “I knew they would kick the can down the road. I knew they would get ahead of the story. I knew that I certainly had no future with that system as it was.”
Brendan doesn’t have any confidence in HFPA’s recent promises to improve diversity and inclusivity, and refuse bribes and gifts. But, even after all this, Brendan said he’d hear HFPA out if they ever properly apologized to him:
“…according to rules of engagement, it would be my responsibility to take a look at it and make a determination at that time, if that became the situation.
“And it would have to be, I don’t know, what’s the word I’m looking for … sincere? I would want some gesture of making medicine out of poison somehow. I don’t know what that is. But that would be my hope,” Fraser said. “I would expect that it would be something that would be meaningful for them too.”
Here’s Brendan’s GQ cover and some pics from his photoshoot:
And a video of him reflecting on his greatest roles:
It’s pretty awesome that Brendan’s career comeback is happening at the same time as HFPA’s demise. Or maybe the Golden Globes’ return to television on January 10 will be a spectacular triumph. All the celebs who boycotted them last year will come back groveling on their hands and knees. “We’re sorry we left! You’re way more important than the Oscars!” Hey, crazier things have happened at the Globes! See: Emily in Paris getting nominated for Best TV Series.
Pic: PA Images/INSTARimages.com/Cover Images