Brendan Fraser is in the middle of a comeback, and the onetime headliner of Hollywood blockbusters opened up about the moment that played a major role in derailing his career.
He claims in 2003, he was sexually assaulted by Hollywood Foreign Press Association president Philip Berk.
The 49-year-old Fraser told GQ about the alleged incident at a 2003 luncheon in the Beverly Hills Hotel. On his way out, he met Berk, whose organization votes on the Golden Globes. Berk reached out to shake The Mummy actor's hand. He then used his other hand to touch Frasier's buttocks.
"His left hand reaches around, grabs my ass cheek, and one of his fingers touches me in the taint. And he starts moving it around," Fraser recalled.
Fraser removed Berk's hand, but felt "ill" and was about to cry. He rushed out of the room. The only person he told at the time was his then-wife, Afton. The actor said he thought about going public, but ultimately did not. His representatives did seek a written apology from Berk and the HFPA. Beck mentioned the incident in his 2014 memoir, but said he only touched Frasier's backside "in jest."
Beck called Fraser's version of events a "total fabrication" and admitted he wrote the letter, but told GQ he did not admit any wrongdoing.
"My apology admitted no wrongdoing, the usual 'If I've done anything that upset Mr. Fraser, it was not intended and I apologize,'" Beck told the magazine.
Fraser said the HFPA agreed to make sure Beck would never be in the same room as him again. Still, the incident changed him.
"I became depressed," Fraser said. "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 on to work on next."
Although Fraser made more movies after that incident, he said "made me retreat. It made me feel reclusive."
He wondered if the HFPA blacklisted, and said he was rarely invited back to the Golden Globes.
After the incident, work "withered on the vine for me. In my mind, at least, something had been taken away from me," he said.
"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," Fraser told GQ. "And maybe I am over-reacting in terms of what the instance was. I just know what my truth is. And it's what I just spoke to you."2comments
"The HFPA stands firmly against sexual harassment and the type of behavior described in this article," the HFPA said in a statement to PEOPLE. "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. This report includes alleged information that the HFPA was previously unaware of and at this time we are investigating further details surrounding the incident."
Fraser's comeback started with roles in the History Channel's Texas Rising and Showtime's The Affair. He will next be seen in FX's Trust, which debuts March 25.