Actor Brendan Fraser has joined the #MeToo movement, recounting an alleged assault by the former president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association that led to a career-damaging estrangement from the silver screen.
In a GQ magazine interview, the 49-year-old actor who became a household name in 1997’s George of the Jungle has spoken about an incident that made him “retreat” and “feel reclusive”.
Fraser alleges Philip Berk – the former president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the organisation that hosts the Golden Globe Awards – pinched his bottom at a 2003 lunch.
“His left hand reaches around, grabs my arse cheek, and one of his fingers touches me in the taint. And he starts moving it around,” the actor said.
“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.”
The actor said he didn’t speak publicly about it at the time because, “I didn’t want to contend with how that made me feel, or it becoming part of my narrative.”
In his memoir, With Signs and Wonders: My Journey from Darkest Africa to the Bright Lights of Hollywood, Mr Berk writes the gesture was in jest and called Fraser’s version a “total fabrication” in an email to GQ.
Fraser said be became “depressed” after the incident, blamed himself and became miserable, with history showing a lapse in his blockbuster career.
The alleged assault he said, “made me retreat. It made me feel reclusive”.
“I don’t know if this curried disfavour with the group, with the HFPA. But the silence was deafening,” he added.
The HFPA has hit back at the allegations, saying the actor’s career “declined through no fault of ours”.
Fraser called the #MeToo movement “wonderful” and acknowledged fellow actresses and friends, Rose McGowan, Ashley Judd and Mira Sorvino who were able to “say what I didn’t have the courage to say”.
“Am I still frightened? Absolutely. Do I feel like I need to say something? Absolutely. Have I wanted to many, many times? Absolutely. Have I stopped myself? Absolutely,” The Mummy actor said.
In a moment of reflection, Fraser said he questioned if he may be “overacting in terms of what the instance was”, but said he was also speaking his truth.
The interview also details the physical toll placed on the actor’s body from his many stunt scenes during his long-running stint in Hollywood franchiseThe Mummy from 1999 to 2008.
“I believe I probably was trying too hard, in a way that’s destructive,” Fraser said.
“By the time I did the third Mummy picture in China,” which was 2008, “I was put together with tap and ice – I was building an exoskeleton for myself daily.”
The allegations come as Fraser shoots TV series Condor, based on the film Three Days of the Condor, and an FX series called Trust about the kidnapping of John Paul Getty III.