“I have more history with the Hollywood Foreign Press Association than I have respect for the Hollywood Foreign Press Association,” Brendan Fraser said to Zach Baron as part of GQ’s 2022 Men of the Year issue. The conversation came four years after Brendan, 53, spoke with Baron and claimed that former HFPA president Philip Berk groped and sexually assaulted him at a 2003 luncheon at the Beverly Hills Hotel. With Brendan’s performance in The Whale earning Oscar buzz, the chances of him being nominated for a Golden Globe – the awards ceremony hosted by the HFPA – are high. The chances of him attending are not.
“No, I will not participate,” Brendan told Baron in the 2022 profile. “It’s because of the history that I have with them. And my mother didn’t raise a hypocrite. You can call me a lot of things, but not that.” Fraser says that the HFPA never apologized. GQ reports that the HFPA says they’ve apologized twice. Berk has denied the allegations, but told Baron in 2018 that he wrote a letter to The Mummy star but admitted to “no wrongdoing… the usual ‘If I’ve done anything that upset Mr. Fraser, it was not intended, and I apologize.’”
Brendan claimed that Berk allegedly assaulted him in 2003 when Fraser went to shake the then-HFPA president’s hand. “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,” said Fraser in 2018. In a statement to The New York Times, Berk called the incident “a total fabrication.”
If the HFPA were to apologize, Brendan said that “according to rules of engagement, it would be my responsibility to take a look at it and make a determination at that time, if that became the situation. And it would have to be, I don’t know, what’s the word I’m looking for… sincere? I would want some gesture of making medicine out of poison somehow. I don’t know what that is. But that would be my hope. But it’s not about me.”
The Airheads star said that others identified with his story or shared his story. So, the HFPA apology needs to be “something that would be meaningful for them too,” he says. Fraser claimed that the fallout following the sexual assault led to him being blacklisted in Hollywood. The experience “made me retreat,” because he felt “something had been taken away from me.” It’s why Brendan, one of the biggest stars of the 1990s and early 2000s, seemingly faded away.
The HFPA is no stranger to controversy. In 2021, a Los Angeles Times investigation noted that the HFPA had no Black members and that there were “numerous allegations of ethical and financial conflicts,” per GQ. Berk was expelled from the organization in April 2021 after sharing an article that labeled Black Lives Matter as a “racist hate movement.” NBC ultimately pulled the broadcast, and the 2022 Golden Globes were held without any televised coverage.
After several reforms proposed by the HFPA, the Golden Globes will return to NBC in February 2023.