Saturday 21 September 2019

Brendan Fraser accuses ex-head of Golden Globe organisers of groping him

Ex-Hollywood Foreign Press Association president Philip Berk said the allegation is a ‘total fabrication’

Brendan Fraser made the allegation in magazine GQ
Brendan Fraser made the allegation in magazine GQ

By Sam Blewett, Press Association Los Angeles Correspondent

Rose McGowan has praised Brendan Fraser for coming forward with groping allegations against former Hollywood Foreign Press Association president Philip Berk.

The Mummy actor (49) accused ex-Hollywood Foreign Press Association head Philip Berk of grabbing his backside after they shook hands at a 2003 luncheon held by the organisation at the Beverly Hills Hotel.

Berk told GQ, the magazine published the interview with Fraser on Thursday, that Fraser’s account is a “total fabrication”.

Fraser said he was groped

Fraser told the publication: “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.

“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.”

The HFPA said in a widely-reported statement that it would investigate the allegation and that it “stands firmly” against sexual harassment.

“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,” the statement said.

“This report includes alleged information that the HFPA was previously unaware of and at this time we are investigating further details surrounding the incident.”

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. Brendan Fraser

It was said that Berk wrote an apology to Fraser after the actor’s representatives contacted the HFPA.

GQ quoted Berk as saying: “My apology admitted no wrongdoing, the usual ‘If I’ve done anything that upset Mr. Fraser, it was not intended and I apologise’.”

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

The incident was reported by The New York Times in 2005, but this is the first time Fraser has spoken publicly about it.

The allegation comes as Hollywood undergoes a reckoning over claims of sexual harassment and assault.

Fraser said he retreated after the incident and did not speak up for fears of reprisals, but feels emboldened by the Me Too movement and actresses Rose McGowan, Ashley Judd and Mira Sorvino.

All three were among the first to make allegations against the now-disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein.

And now Rose is praising the actor for his courage.

"I love you, Brendan Fraser," she writes on Twitter. "You've always been a friend in my mind, too... We were hurt by predators protected by the bad machine. Shoot that arrow for all of us who hurt."

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