Brendan Fraser makes groping allegations against top Hollywood executive
The Mummy actor Brendan Fraser has accused a major Hollywood executive of groping him.
Fraser, best known for playing Rick O’Connell in The Mummy trilogy, spoke out about the incident in a GQ profile, following the Me Too movement.
The piece makes allegations against Philip Berk, a former president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which conducts the annual Golden Globes.
Fraser claims that at an event in 2003 at the Beverly Hills Hotel, he was inappropriately touched by Berk.
He told GQ: “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.”
Fraser said he was “overcome with panic and fear” in the moment but was “eventually able to remove Berk’s hand”.
He added: “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… I felt like someone had thrown invisible paint on me.”
Fraser says he did not go public before now because “I didn’t want to contend with how that made me feel, or it becoming part of my narrative.”
The actor added that he became depressed following the incident, adding: “[It] made me retreat. It made me feel reclusive.
“[Work] “withered on the vine for me. In my mind, at least, something had been taken away from me.
Berk included a reference to pinching the actor’s bum in his 2014 memoir ‘With Signs and Wonders’, but says it was in jest.
He has since strongly denied Fraser’s versions of events.
He told CNN: “The charge of a sexual innuendo is a total fabrication and a desperate attempt by Fraser to rescucitate [sic] his career.”
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Although he admitted previously sending Fraser an apology for his conduct, he said: “My apology admitted no wrongdoing, the usual ‘If I’ve done anything that upset Mr. Fraser, it was not intended and I apologise’.”
He also denied that Fraser had been blacklisted as an actor after raising complaints about Berk’s conduct, insisting: “His career declined through no fault of ours.”
The Hollywood Foreign Press Association said it is investigating the allegations.
It said: “The HFPA stands firmly against sexual harassment and the type of behavior described in this article.
“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.”
Star Trek actor Anthony Rapp, the first man to publicly accuse Kevin Spacey of sexual misconduct, praised Fraser for speaking out.
He tweeted: “I just learned about Brendan Fraser’s story. I worked with him on School Ties and found him to be an extremely kind, hardworking, and conscientious man, as well as a wonderful actor. My heart goes out to him and I applaud his courage in coming forward to share his experience.”