Brendan Fraser is a frontrunner to land an Oscar nomination for best actor thanks to his acclaimed performance in Darren Aronofsky’s “The Whale.” But you rarely get to an Oscar nomination without stops at other major precursory awards first, including the Golden Globes, which will be back in full force on NBC in 2023.
Fraser confirmed to GQ magazine that he will not participate in the Globes if he is nominated for “The Whale” due to his accusation that Philip Berk, former president and member of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, groped him at a 2003 luncheon at the Beverly Hills Hotel. Fraser revealed the alleged assault in a 2018 GQ interview. Berk later disputed Fraser’s allegations.
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“I have more history with the Hollywood Foreign Press Association than I have respect for the Hollywood Foreign Press Association,” Fraser told GQ in his new cover story. “No, I will not participate… 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 said his experience with Berk “made me retreat” from Hollywood. It also made him feel like “something had been taken away from me.” Following Fraser’s 2018 accusation, the HFPA said in a statement that it “stands firmly against sexual harassment and the type of behavior described in this article.” The organization also opened an investigation into the matter, which GQ reports ended with the HFPA proposing Fraser sign a joint statement that 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.” Fraser refused to sign, and Berk remained a voting member of the HFPA.
“I knew they would close ranks,” Fraser said. “I knew they would kick the can down the road. I knew they would get ahead of the story. I knew that I certainly had no future with that system as it was.”
The Globes and the HFPA have since gone through their own upheaval, starting in 2021 when the Los Angeles Times published a report revealing the group had no Black members. Berk was then expelled from the HFPA after sending an email to members criticizing the Black Lives Matter movement as a “racist hate movement.”
Why did the HFPA not drop Berk after Fraser’s original accusation? “I think it was because it was too prickly or sharp-edged or icky for people to want to go first and invest emotionally in the situation,” the actor said, adding that “at the moment” he does not believe in any of the reforms the HFPA has made in the last year.
“Maybe time will tell if they’re going to… I don’t know what they’re going to do,” Fraser added. “I don’t know.”
Fraser said he is willing to reconsider his relationship with the HFPA and the Golden Globes pending the organization wanting to make amends. “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,” he said. “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 Whale” opens in theaters Dec. 9 from A24.
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