In a February interview with GQ, Brendan Fraser alleged that 15 years ago, then-president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, Philip Berk, sexually assaulted him. Fraser said the incident left him feeling panicked and afraid: “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.”
Berk, in his memoir and in a New York Times interview, has denied that the encounter took place how Fraser described it. Still, at the time of publication of Fraser’s GQ interview, the HFPA said it would conduct an investigation into the alleged event, saying “This report includes alleged information that the HFPA was previously unaware of.” On Wednesday, in another interview with GQ, Fraser said that the HFPA’s third-party investigation has concluded, and that the organization stands by its former president.
According to Fraser, the HFPA reached out to him, at some point after the investigation had concluded, requesting to release a joint statement reading, “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.”
It would also read: “All parties consider this matter to be concluded.”
He told GQ he did not agree to sign off on any such statement, and added that he asked to see the investigation’s report and the HFPA declined to share it.
Fraser said he hopes he can find closure for this painful period of his life and that, hopefully, this whole experience will serve other victims in the future:
“I want to find some way to make medicine out of this poison, which is not specific just to this enterprise,” Fraser told me. “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. 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.
On Wednesday, the HFPA released a statement in response to Fraser’s latest comments on its investigation, now saying that the organization has shared its report with the actor:
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.
Read the rest of the statement here.