In a moving GQ profile published last February, Brendan Fraser came forward with his own #MeToo story: Philip Berk, the former president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (the organization that hosts the Golden Globes), grabbed his butt, and that “one of his fingers touches me in the taint.” The HFPA has investigated the issue, Fraser told GQ in an update on the story today, and has denied that sexual harassment occurred. GQ reports that the organization proposed that Berk, Fraser, and the HFPA issue a joint statement saying, “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 said he doesn’t “get the joke,” and declined to sign the statement. He also expressed misgivings about the HFPA’s investigation, after they wouldn’t share the methodology or findings of their investigation:
“What I said to them was, ‘Show me the investigator’s report, and then I’ll know what I’m signing off on.’” The HFPA, according to Fraser, showed him a summary of their findings but refused to share the full report the organization said those findings were based on, citing witness-confidentiality concerns. “They’re kind of behaving like wolves in sheep’s clothing about it, saying, ‘Oh, we want him to heal.’ Well, the first step in that direction would be: What am I healing from? Can I please see this report? What is it? They commissioned an investigation. They received their report. And they’re not giving any details about it, and they’re not giving up the report itself.”
Now, Fraser hopes that the HFPA will simply ask Berk, whose membership and Golden Globes vote continues to be in good standing, to step down. “There’s a system in place that’s unwritten. If you abide by it, you will be rewarded. If you don’t, you won’t be,” Fraser told GQ. “But outside of that, I want to end this episode, this chapter, in my own life and career and move on, just as I’m hopeful that others will be able to in years to come.”
Update: The Hollywood Foreign Press Association has issued a statement responding to Brendan Fraser’s comments on its sexual-assault investigation. The organization said they treated Fraser’s allegations against Philip Bark with seriousness both this year and initially in 2003. “We’ve shared the results of that investigation with Mr. Fraser, and again apologized, but also conveyed our need to abide by the investigation’s finding that the exchange was not an intended sexual advance.”
The HFPA continues to stand firmly against sexual harassment. As such, we have always taken Brendan Fraser’s allegations very seriously — both when he originally spoke out in 2003 and now again 15 years later. Back then, after an initial inquiry, we provided Mr. Fraser with the exact redress he sought — an acknowledgement of the transgression and an apology. Mr. Fraser continued to attend HFPA events including the Golden Globes. When Mr. Fraser raised the allegations again this year in the March issue of GQ, adding several previously unknown details, we conducted an internal review and then took it upon ourselves to commission an independent investigation into the matter to ensure impartiality. We’ve shared the results of that investigation with Mr. Fraser, and again apologized, but also conveyed our need to abide by the investigation’s finding that the exchange was not an intended sexual advance. We want to reiterate that the HFPA understands today — as it did 15 years ago — that what Mr. Fraser experienced was inappropriate.