Brendan Fraser accuses HFPA member of groping him in 2003

Posted at 9:13 AM, Feb 23, 2018

Actor Brendan Fraser has accused a member of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the group that presents the annual Golden Globe Awards, of groping him at an event in 2003.

In a profile in GQ, Fraser recounts an encounter with former HFPA president Philip Berk at a luncheon hosted by the organization at the Beverly Hills Hotel.

Fraser alleges Berk grabbed his rear end and, through his pants, touched him in the area between his genitals and his anus.

"I felt ill. I felt like a little kid," Fraser told GQ. "I felt like there was a ball in my throat. I thought I was going to cry."

After the incident Fraser, best known for his work in the "Mummy" franchise and films like "School Ties," said he became "depressed."

A representative for Fraser confirmed his account to CNN and said there was no further comment.

Berk, still a member of the HFPA, admitted that he pinched Fraser's buttock at the event in question but said in his interview with GQ he did so in jest.

"The charge of a sexual innuendo is a total fabrication and a desperate attempt by Fraser to rescucitate (sic) his career," Berk told CNN.

In response to questions posed to Berk by GQ, shared with CNN by Berk, he said the alleged encounter "occurred in front of dozens of people" and said he "had two witnesses."

Berk did apologize to Fraser for the incident, after prompting from Fraser's then personal publicist.

"My apology admitted no wrong doing, the usual 'if I've done anything that upset Mr. Fraser it was not intended and I apologize,'" Berk said.

The HFPA told CNN in a statement that the GQ article contains "alleged information that the HFPA was previously unaware of" and that they are "investigating further details surrounding the incident."

"The HFPA stands firmly against sexual harassment and the type of behavior described in this article," the statement from the HFPA read. "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."

Fraser said the incident "made me retreat" and "feel reclusive." He chose not to come forward for a long time. In the aftermath of Hollywood's reckoning with sexual harassment, however, he says he's found his voice.

He tells GQ: "Am I still frightened? Absolutely. Do I feel like I need to say something? Absolutely. Have I wanted to many, many times? Absolutely. Have I stopped myself? Absolutely."

Fraser has in recent years appeared on Showtime's "The Affair" and miniseries "Texas Rising."

He will next appear in FX's "Trust."