Brendan Fraser Felt 'Depressed' & 'Reclusive' After Alleged Groping From HFPA Boss

Gina Carbone

A new GQ profile addresses the question "What ever happened to Brendan Fraser?"

The now 49-year-old actor was everywhere in the '90s and early '00s -- "The Mummy" movies, "George of the Jungle," "Encino Man," "Gods and Monsters," "The Quiet American," and Best Picture Oscar winner "Crash." Then his career kind of fell off the face of the earth, or so it seemed.

Fraser's new GQ profile goes into what he's been doing since, including his upcoming roles in the TV series "Trust" and "Condor."

In the interview, Fraser addressed an incident he said he didn't have "the courage to speak up" about previously, "for risk of humiliation, or damage to my career." It happened in 2003, he told GQ, at a luncheon held by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), the organization that hosts the Golden Globes.

Here's that part of the story:

On Fraser's way out of the hotel, he was hailed by Philip Berk, a former president of the HFPA. In the midst of a crowded room, Berk reached out to shake Fraser's hand. Much of what happened next Berk recounted in his memoir and was also reported by Sharon Waxman in The New York Times: He pinched Fraser's ass—in jest, according to Berk. But Fraser says what Berk did was more than a pinch: "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 says that in this moment he was overcome with panic and fear.

Fraser said he was eventually able to remove Berk's hand but "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."

His reps asked the HFPA for a written apology. Philip Berk acknowledged to GQ that he did write a letter to Fraser, but qualified, "My apology admitted no wrongdoing, the usual 'If I've done anything that upset Mr. Fraser, it was not intended and I apologize.'"

After what happened, Fraser said:

"I became depressed. I was blaming myself and I was miserable—because I was saying, 'This is nothing; this guy reached around and he copped a feel.' That summer wore on—and I can't remember what I went on to work on next." He said it "made me retreat. It made me feel reclusive."

He said he even wondered if the HFPA had blacklisted him, adding that he was rarely invited back to the Globes after 2003. Berk disputed that idea: "His career declined through no fault of ours."

AT&T AUDIENCE Network 2018 Winter TCA

Fraser is working with actress Mira Sorvino in the new Audience Network series "Condor," and he addressed her and others in the #MeToo movement:

"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. [...]

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."

On the phone, he breathes deeply. "And maybe I am over-reacting in terms of what the instance was. I just know what my truth is. And it's what I just spoke to you."

Read his full profile for a lot more.

So far, Fraser is getting support for his candor -- and not just for the part about the HFPA story. Many fans are rooting for him to have a career "renaissance," on par with Winona Ryder in "Stranger Things."


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