While Brendan Fraser is making the award-season circuit in support of his new film, The Whale, he won’t be attending the Golden Globes, telling GQ in a new cover story, “No, I will not participate,” because the former head of the Globes’ Hollywood Foreign Press Association allegedly groped him.
Fraser first related this purported sexual assault to GQ in 2018, saying that Philip Berk, former president of the HFPA, groped him at the Beverly Hills Hotel in 2003. Berk is no longer an HFPA member, but Fraser’s feelings on the organization haven’t softened. “I have more history with the Hollywood Foreign Press Association than I have respect for the Hollywood Foreign Press Association,” Fraser said. “My mother didn’t raise a hypocrite. You can call me a lot of things, but not that.”
Fraser recalled that after the incident he felt like “something had been taken away from me.” The experience “made me retreat” from Hollywood, and along with the toll of doing his own stunts on his body, is one of the reasons he began appearing in fewer films.
Part of his hostility is how the HFPA handled the incident. In 2018, after Fraser’s allegations became public, they released a statement saying the organization “stands firmly against sexual harassment and the type of behavior described in this article.” They then proposed releasing a joint statement with Fraser which 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.” Fraser refused to sign it, and Berk remained an HFPA voting member.
“I knew they would close ranks,” Fraser said. “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.”
Berk was finally expelled from the HFPA in 2021 after criticizing Black Lives Matter as a “racist hate movement,” and the group underwent an existential crisis after the Los Angeles Times revealed that the voting body had no Black members. NBC refused to air the Golden Globes in 2022, citing the lack of diversity, but the ceremony will return in 2023.
Fraser said he doesn’t think the HPFA has done enough “at the moment.”
“I would want some gesture of making medicine out of poison somehow,” he said. “I don’t know what that is. But that would be my hope. But it’s not about me.”