Brendan Fraser believes his career may have been stalled after alleged assault by the former president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.
In a revealing new interview with GQ, the “Mummy” star opened up about a 2003 incident at an HFPA luncheon ahead of the Golden Globes, which the organization hosts.
Rose McGowan tweeted her support for Fraser coming forward with his story Friday.
Fraser said he was hailed by former HFPA president Philip Berk on the way out of the hotel where the luncheon was being held.
“His left hand reaches around, grabs my a** cheek,” Fraser told GQ, “and one of his fingers touches me in the taint. And he starts moving it around.”
The 49-year-old said he was then overcome by fear and panic.
“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 recalled. “I felt like someone had thrown invisible paint on me.”
Fraser decided not to make the alleged incident public. “I didn’t want to contend with how that made me feel, or it becoming part of my narrative,” he explained. He did request a written apology from the HFPA, which Berk said he did write.
“My apology admitted no wrongdoing,” Berk told GQ, “the usual ‘If I’ve done anything that upset Mr. Fraser, it was not intended and I apologize.’” Berk also disputed Fraser’s account of the incident, calling it “a total fabrication.”
Fraser said alleged harassment had long-lasting effects: “I became depressed. I was blaming myself and I was miserable – because I was saying, ‘This is nothing; this guy reached around and he copped a feel.’ That summer wore on – and I can’t remember what I went to work on next.”
Fraser also suggested that his career also faltered as a result, explaining that the experience “made me retreat. It made me feel reclusive.” He also said he may have been blacklisted by the HFPA. “I don’t know if this curried disfavour with the group, with the HFPA. But the silence was deafening,” he said, though Berk denied this as well.
Watching the #MeToo movement gain steam was inspiring for the actor. “I know Rose [McGowan], I know Ashley [Judd], I know Mira [Sorvino] – I’ve worked with them. I call them friends in my mind. I haven’t spoken to them in years, but they’re my friends,” he said. “I watched this wonderful movement, these people with the courage to say what I didn’t have the courage to say.”
“Am I still frightened? Absolutely,” Fraser said. “Do I feel like I need to say something? Absolutely. Have I wanted to many, many times? Absolutely. Have I stopped myself? Absolutely.”
Fraser is currently starring in the upcoming series “Trust” on FX, about the Getty kidnapping.
The actor’s fans on Twitter sent him their support for speaking out and were excited at the prospect of a career resurgence.
The full interview with Brendan Fraser is available in the new issue of GQ featuring cover star Timothee Chalamet.