Brendan Fraser may have fallen off the Hollywood radar in recent years, but in a brand new interview with GQ, the star revealed that an incident from 2003 was the last straw for him and his time in the spotlight.
In the magazine's March 2018 cover, the actor gets candid about everything from his divorce to his mother's passing and the multiple surgeries he needed after years of being his own stuntman, sharing his story with staff writer Zach Baron over the course of a few days in New York and London.
As open as he was, it wasn't until a later phone call that he revealed he was groped by former Hollywood Foreign Press Association president Philip Berk at a luncheon in the summer of 2003. Berk allegedly reached out for a handshake at first but crossed the line with Fraser instead. “His left hand reaches around, grabs my ass cheek, and one of his fingers touches me in the taint,” Fraser told Baron. “And he starts moving it around.” In Berk's own memoir, he mentions the incident but in a much different way, claiming he had pinched the actor "in jest." The incident, according to Fraser, left him miserable, depressed, and feeling like "something had been taken away from [him].”
An important thing to consider about Hollywood's recent public unearthing of sexual assault incidents is just how many men are being assaulted and harassed within the industry, with stories like Terry Crews' assault by talent executive Adam Venit and the allegations against Kevin Spacey from mainly young male actors rightfully becoming a part of the conversation. Many of Fraser's former co-stars have remained at the forefront of these movements, and it's something the actor relates to and appreciates. “I know Rose [McGowan], I know Ashley [Judd], I know Mira [Sorvino]—I’ve worked with them. I call them friends in my mind. I haven’t spoken to them in years, but they’re my friends. I watched this wonderful movement, these people with the courage to say what I didn’t have the courage to say.”
Like so many others who have been called out for hypocritically supporting these movements while being (or working with) perpetrators themselves, Fraser says he ironically saw Berk sitting in the audience during the Golden Globes, which is hosted by the HFPA, among the all-black attire and Time's Up pins. “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.”
The actor admits he kept the incident to himself since it happened 15 years ago, adding he "didn't have the courage to speak up for risk of humiliation, or damage to my career.” Berk called Fraser's claims a "total fabrication" in an email to GQ and claimed he wrote Fraser a letter apologizing for upsetting him but denying wrongdoing.