LOS ANGELES – The Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the organization that awards the Golden Globes, said on Friday that it is investigating a sexual harassment complaint presented by actor Brendan Fraser involving one of its former members.
“The HFPA stands firmly against sexual harassment and the type of behavior described in this article,” the organization said, referring to the incident described by Fraser in GQ magazine.
In the article, Fraser claims that in the summer of 2003, Philip Berk, former president of the HFPA, approached him during a luncheon at the Beverly Hills Hotel and fondled his backside and crotch.
“Over the years we’ve continued a positive working relationship with Brendan, which includes announcing Golden Globe nominees, attending the ceremony and participating in press conferences,” the organization said. “This report includes alleged information that the HFPA was previously unaware of and at this time we are investigating further details surrounding the incident.”
Berk himself wrote about the incident in his memoirs “With Signs and Wonder,” insisting it was just a joke.
“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,” Fraser told GC, adding that he was reluctant to talk about what happened because he was afraid how people would react and that it could hurt his career.
In an email sent to GQ, Berk calls Fraser’s version a “total fabrication.”
The actor said that the incident had made him “reclusive” and made him retreat from the public scene.
He also wondered if the organization had blackballed him, since he was rarely invited back to the Golden Globes after 2003.
Fraser, star of “George of the Jungle,” “The Mummy” trilogy and “Crash,” said he suspected the incident had a negative effect on his career in Hollywood.