The Hollywood Foreign Press Association, who is responsible for putting on the Golden Globe Awards, has concluded their internal investigation into a sexual assault accusation raised by Brendan Fraser.
Fraser said that the organisation found that HFPA president Philip Berk did touch him, but that it was done in jest. However, the “Journey to the Center of the Earth” actor said, “I don’t get the joke.”
In February, Fraser went public with his experience in an interview with GQ. He related, “His left hand reaches around, grabs my a-cheek, and one of his fingers touches me in the taint. And he starts moving it around.”
Overcome with panic and fear, 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 (…) I felt like someone had thrown invisible paint on me.”
After investigation on the accusation ended, the HFPA apologised to him and offered to issue a joint statement. This offer was rejected by Fraser, who approached GQ to tell his side of the story.
HFPA’s full statement on the incident reads:
“The HFPA continues to stand firmly against sexual harassment. As such, we have always taken Brendan Fraser’s allegations very seriously—both when he originally spoke out in 2003 and now again 15 years later. Back then, after an initial inquiry, we provided Mr. Fraser with the exact redress he sought—an acknowledgement of the transgression and an apology. Mr. Fraser continued to attend HFPA events including the Golden Globes. When Mr. Fraser raised the allegations again this year in the March issue of GQ, adding several previously unknown details, we conducted an internal review and then took it upon ourselves to commission an independent investigation into the matter to ensure impartiality. We’ve shared the results of that investigation with Mr. Fraser, and again apologized, but also conveyed our need to abide by the investigation’s finding that the exchange was not an intended sexual advance. We want to reiterate that the HFPA understands today—as it did 15 years ago—that what Mr. Fraser experienced was inappropriate.”
Although an apology was issued, Berk remains on the board. In an e-mail, he confirmed that he is still a member of the HFPA and a Golden Globe voter.