Brendan Fraser on sexual harassment claim: 'I don't get the joke'

Section
Celebrity,
Publish Date
Friday, 8 June 2018, 9:57AM

Brendan Fraser has accused the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) of treating his sexual harassment allegations as a joke.

The 49-year-old actor claimed earlier this year that Philip Berk — the former president of the organisation — touched him inappropriately during a HFPA lunch at the Beverly Hills Hotel in 2003, prompting an internal investigation.

But the Mummy star says the investigation is complete and he was left furious by their suggestion he teamed with them to release a joint statement, which he claimed would have 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."

Brendan Fraser during The Hollywood Foreign Press Association Presents $601,500 In Donations During Its Annual Installation Luncheon in Beverly Hills, California.Photo / Getty

But speaking to GQ magazine — where he made his original allegations — Fraser said: "I don't get the joke. I'm the only one who would know where I was touched on my body."

The HFPA also apologised to the Bedazzled actor in the proposed statement and suggested a resolution had been reached.

It would have read: "All parties consider this matter to be concluded. [The HFPA look forward] to continuing to work with Mr Fraser."

Fraser was interviewed by an independent investigator in April, but the HFPA declined to share the full results of their investigation with him or explain how they reached their conclusion, simply presenting him with a summary of their findings, citing witness confidentiality as to why the whole report was concealed.

He said: "What I said to them was, 'Show me the investigator's report, and then I'll know what I'm signing off on.'

Brendan Fraser and Jeff Probst after dunking one another in the Target Dunk Tank. Photo / Getty

"They're kind of behaving like wolves in sheep's clothing about it, saying, 'Oh, we want him to heal.' Well, the first step in that direction would be: 'What am I healing from? Can I please see this report? What is it?'

"They commissioned an investigation. They received their report. And they're not giving any details about it, and they're not giving up the report itself."

Berk — who previously denied the actor's account of the incident — himself hasn't seen the investigator's findings, or the proposed joint statement.

He said: "I myself was not shown either report. "But [I was] told the statement would absolve me of any wrongdoing."

Asked if he had faced any discipline from the HFPA, he wrote in an email: "None at all." He also confirmed he is still a Golden Globe voter and a member of the HFPA.

Despite his upset at the way his claims have been handled, Fraser now wants to move on.

He said: "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."

Following the publication of GQ's article, the HFPA have issued a new statement, in which they insisted they have taken the allegations "very seriously" and branded Berk's alleged behaviour "inappropriate".

Brendan Fraser attends For Your Consideration Event For FX's Trust on May 11, 2018 in North Hollywood. Photo / Getty

They said: "The HFPA continues to stand firmly against sexual harassment. As such, we have always taken Brendan Fraser's allegations very seriously — both when he originally spoke out in 2003 and now again 15 years later. Back then, after an initial inquiry, we provided Mr. Fraser with the exact redress he sought — an acknowledgement of the transgression and an apology. Mr Fraser continued to attend HFPA events including the Golden Globes.

"When Mr Fraser raised the allegations again this year in the March issue of GQ, adding several previously unknown details, we conducted an internal review and then took it upon ourselves to commission an independent investigation into the matter to ensure impartiality.

"We've shared the results of that investigation with Mr Fraser, and again apologised, 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."