Brendan Fraser Was Asked To Sign A Statement Saying His Assault Was 'A Joke'
"I think I'm just the first brick in the path."
In a GQ feature earlier this year Brendan Fraser claimed he was groped by former Hollywood Foreign Press Association president Philip Berk. Now Fraser is claiming the HFPA asked him to sign a statement calling the incident "a joke".
According to Fraser, in 2003 at a HFPA luncheon at the Beverly Hills Hotel, Berk called Fraser over and "pinched his ass -- in jest".
Fraser claimed it was much more than just a joking pinch telling 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".
"I felt ill. I felt like a little kid," Fraser said recounting the moment.
"I felt like there was a ball in my throat. I thought I was going to cry."
Fraser claimed watching many of his peers come forward, like Rose McGowan, Ashley Judd and Mira Sorvino, and talk about their experiences with the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements was what pushed him to speak out about his own.
Berk refuted the claims calling Fraser's version of events "a total fabrication" however the HFPA launched an investigation saying, "This report includes alleged information that the HFPA was previously unaware of and at this time we are investigating further details surrounding the incident".
Fraser has now come forward again, saying the investigation concluded, and offered him the chance to sign a joint statement.
The HFPA's statement allegedly 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 declined to sign the statement telling GQ in a follow-up interview, "I don't get the joke".
The 49-year-old requested to see the full investigation but the HFPA declined. Berk was also not shown the report, nor was he disciplined whatsoever by the Association.
The HFPA issued a follow-up statement claiming that they shared the results of the investigation with Fraser, but didn't comment on the claim they refused to show him the full details of the investigation.
"We’ve shared the results of that investigation with Mr. Fraser, and again apologised," the HFPA's statement read, "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."
Fraser had hoped that by bringing his case forward the HFPA would be forced to request Berk step down from his position, that the organisation could instil new policies on harassment, but he isn't holding out hope.
"I think I'm just the first brick in the path. Maybe someone else will put another brick down and the path will continue on. I don't know."