Brendan Fraser Says Former Golden Globes President Grabbed His Taint

Remember Brendan Fraser? Yeah, neither did I, but apparently he’s back and he gave a long interview to GQ about where he’s been. Apparently he’s been nursing his taint after it was grabbed by Philip Berk, former president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.

In the midst of a crowded room, Berk reached out to shake Fraser’s hand. Much of what happened next Berk recounted in his memoir and was also reported by Sharon Waxman in The New York Times: He pinched Fraser’s ass—in jest, according to Berk. But Fraser says what Berk did was more than a pinch: “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 says that in this moment he was overcome with panic and fear.

Fraser eventually was able, he says, to remove Berk’s hand. “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 rushed out of the room, outside, past a police officer he couldn’t quite bring himself to confess to, and then home, where he told his then wife, Afton, what had happened. “I felt like someone had thrown invisible paint on me,” he says now.

The 2003 encounter stuck with Fraser, who still feels conflicted about it today.

“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.”

On the phone, he breathes deeply. “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.”

I don’t know what happened or if Fraser is over-reacting, but Berk sounds like, well, a berk, saying of the apology he gave Fraser at the time “My apology admitted no wrongdoing, the usual ‘If I’ve done anything that upset Mr. Fraser, it was not intended and I apologize.’ ” F**k that guy, right? He sounds like he went to finishing school with Harvey Weinstein.

Fraser also talked a bit about why he took a role in Looney Tunes: Back in Action, which is the thing I assumed had kept his career down.

Fraser says when the day came to shoot the scene where he punches himself out, he put on the most ostentatious clothes he could find to play Brendan Fraser. “It was my vision of the worst version of myself. And I get to deck me.” And the point, finally, is this: “The reason I was adamant about wanting to do that”—by which he means take a film role with a bunch of cartoons that involved punching himself in the face—“even if I didn’t realize it until much, much later, is that at that time I think I wanted to knock myself out. I wanted to take the piss out of myself before someone else would, ’cause I had it in my head that I had it coming.”

Man, now I feel depressed. I had thought that it was just a really terrible movie, but it’s also an expression of Brenden Fraser’s ennui. I mean, it doesn’t make the movie any better, but it makes me feel bad about how bad I think it is.

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