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'I became depressed': Actor Brendan Fraser says career derailed following alleged assault by Hollywood exec

‘I became depressed’: Actor Brendan Fraser says career derailed following alleged assault by Hollywood exec

Brendan Fraser, in a still from The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, says he was assaulted by a former president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association in 2003.

Actor Brendan Fraser has added his voice to the #MeToo movement, alleging he was sexually assaulted by a former president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.

In an interview with GQ, the ’90s star says that the HFPA’s Philip Berk assaulted him at the Beverly Hills Hotel in 2003.

“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,” the actor said.

Actors Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz in 2001 movie The Mummy Returns.

Berk mentioned the incident in his 2014 memoir With Signs and Wonders, but said he pinched Fraser’s behind as a joke. Fraser, though, said he was overcome with fear and had to remove Berk’s hand.

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“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,” he said.

He said he hadn’t previously gone public with the allegations as, “I didn’t want to contend with how that made me feel, or it becoming part of my narrative.”

Berk denied the claim in an e-mail to GQ, saying “Mr. Fraser’s version is a total fabrication.”

Fraser was a regular leading man in the ’90s following box office hits Encino Man, George of the Jungle and The Mummy, and his sudden disappearance from the public eye had become fodder online in recent years, sparking memes and a petition imploring Hollywood to give him work that drew over 40,000 signatures.

In December, an awkward AOL interview with the actor went viral due to his downcast demeanour, with fans questioning whether the former star was depressed over his stalled career and a recent divorce.

Fraser addressed the viral clip in the GQ interview, saying his mother had died of cancer just days before the interview.

“I buried my mum,” he told the magazine. “I think I was in mourning, and I didn’t know what that meant.”

The actor also revealed he’d required almost seven years of surgery as a result of his action movie stuntwork, including a laminectomy, bolting on his spinal pads, and a partial knee replacement.

But, he said, it was the alleged assault that led him to retreat from public life.

“[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’.” Fraser recalled.

“[Work] withered on the vine for me. In my mind, at least, something had been taken away from me.”

He questioned whether the HFPA had blacklisted him as a result of the incident, as he was rarely invited back to the Golden Globes, which the HFPA runs, after 2003.

“The phone does stop ringing in your career, and you start asking yourself why. There’s many reasons, but was this one of them? I think it was,” he said.

 – SMH

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