November 29, 2022





CNN
 — 

Brendan Fraser, who has garnered considerable awards buzz for his starring turn in next month’s “The Whale,” says he does not plan on attending the next Golden Globes ceremony, citing his “history” with the organization in a new interview.

“I have more history with the Hollywood Foreign Press Association than I have respect for the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. No, I will not participate,” the actor explained in an interview with GQ published on Wednesday.

Fraser is seemingly referring to the 2018 allegations the actor made against the former president of the HFPA, Philip Berk, whom he alleges groped him at an event in 2003.

Fraser added to GQ about his decision: “My mother didn’t raise a hypocrite. You can call me a lot of things, but not that.”

In a different profile for GQ in 2018, Fraser described the encounter with Berk at a luncheon hosted by the organization at the Beverly Hills Hotel, where Fraser alleged 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 said at the time. “I felt like there was a ball in my throat. I thought I was going to cry.”

Berk denied any wrongdoing, admitting that he pinched Fraser’s buttock at the event in question, but in his own interview with GQ, he said he did so in jest.

After Fraser’s allegations, the HFPA released a statement that said it was “investigating further details surrounding the incident” and that it “stands firmly against sexual harassment.

Behind the scenes, Fraser claimed to GQ this week, the organization ultimately came back to him and proposed issuing a joint statement that said, according to him, “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 says he refused to cosign the alleged joint statement.

CNN has reached out to the HFPA for comment.

Reached for comment on Thursday, Berk confirmed that a joint statement had been presented to Fraser, and that it was a summary of an independent investigation commissioned by the HFPA. Ultimately, it was released as a statement by the group without Fraser’s co-signature.

Berk also reasserted his opposition to Fraser’s accusation, calling it “absurd.”

“Not only would the alleged assault have to have taken place in a crowded room, but I would have to be a Marvel superhero to accomplish such a feat,” Berk told CNN, in part.

“I knew they would close ranks,” Fraser told GQ. “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.”

Reflecting on why his account may not have made waves, Fraser said, “I think it was because it was too prickly or sharp-edged or icky for people to want to go first and invest emotionally in the situation.”

After Fraser’s allegations, Berk remained an active member of the HFPA until last year, when he was expelled for disseminating an article to fellow HFPA members that referred to Black Lives Matter as a “racist hate movement.”

Berk confirmed he is currently “not in any way” affiliated with the HFPA.

The Golden Globes, long considered the lead-up to the Oscars, also came under fire last year after it was revealed by the Los Angeles Times that the association contained no Black voting members.

Despite the organization’s attempts to address the controversy and other ethics concerns, NBC severed broadcast ties with the organization, pending the group’s efforts to enact “meaningful reform.”

The 2022 Golden Globes were not aired on television. NBC announced in September that the show would return to air in 2023, citing the HFPA’s “commitment to ongoing change.”

When asked if he believed whether any of the HFPA’s announced reforms translated to real progress, Fraser was skeptical.

“At the moment, no. Maybe time will tell if they’re going to…I don’t know what they’re going to do,” he told GQ this week. “I don’t know.”

Following an overwhelmingly positive reception during film festival season, Fraser is considered a shoe-in for a best actor Oscar nomination.

In “The Whale,” Fraser plays a reclusive, obese teacher who is trying to reconnect with his estranged teenage daughter Ellie (Sadie Sink from “Stranger Things”).

The film, directed by Darren Aronofsky, hits theaters on December 9.

This story has been updated to reflect Berk’s reply to a request for comment.


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