Being a movie star is a phenomenon that even movie stars themselves cannot logically explain.
Some producer or director puts your face on screen, dozens of releases exploit the traits you inherited from your parents, and suddenly you’re an icon who transcends your Hollywood game.
When this movement swirls around actor Brendan Fraser, his worries that he won’t tolerate the millions of people’s reactions begin to grow. He considers himself too soft and impatient to withstand other people’s ideas and impressions.
However, the surprises did not come from fans and the press, but from a man who is part of the contingent of the film industry – Philip Burke, now the former president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, whom Fraser accuses of sexual harassment.
In an interview for the cover of GQ, the actor shared that the incident that made him “sick” took place in the summer of 2003.
Then the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which hosts the Golden Globe Awards, hosts a luncheon for the industry’s top names. And as an actor who took over cinemas and magazines with the series “The Mummy”, Fraser was present at this event.
On leaving the hotel, the star sees Philip Burke and goes to greet him. In the middle of the large crowd, Burke reaches out and shakes Fraser’s hand, and then the two board a crowded elevator to get to lunch.
Burke also remembers this meeting and mentions it in his autobiography, which was among the most read titles of the “New York Times”.
“I pinched Brendan Fraser’s ass as a joke,” the former president of the Foreign Press Association wrote in his book.
But according to the actor, crossing the line in that elevator went much further than a simple pinch.
“His left hand reached out and grabbed the cheek of my ass, and one of his fingers touched my perineum. And that’s where he started moving it,” Fraser told GQ.
Although nearly 20 years have passed since then, the “Mummy” star still remembers the initial fear and panic she felt and struggling to regain her composure to remove Burke’s hand.
“I felt like a little child. Suddenly a ball got stuck in my throat and I felt like I was going to cry at any moment. I rushed outside, passed a policeman to whom I couldn’t say a word about what had happened, and went home to tell to his wife. I felt like someone had thrown invisible paint on me,” the actor recalled.
Already in 2018, he raised the issue of sexual assault on Philip Burke, but then both the president and the Association rejected his accusations.
“What Mr. Fraser said is pure fiction,” read their first official announcement.
However, several series of stories about the self-forgetful producers at the top of Hollywood pressure them to change their position through an apology signed by Philip Burke.
“If I did anything wrong that upset Mr. Fraser, I want to apologize,” Burke said publicly.
However, this does not smooth out the trauma in the mind of the actor, who to this day claims that he will not allow himself to be alone with Philip Burke a second time. Nor did he grace any of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association events from now on, after the first response to his confession was “you’re making it up.”
“For a long period of time I was depressed. I told myself I deserved what happened to me. I blamed myself and I was miserable. I thought, once this guy reached out, he must have felt he could do it. This passed, but I felt like I couldn’t continue working,” says the star of the “Mummy” franchise.
The turning point in his thinking came when he was watching the Golden Globe Awards one night and saw all the actresses arriving in black dresses with Time’s Up badges as a symbol of their solidarity with those sexually abused by the industry.
Fraser is still scared to talk openly about his story, but with this concerted gesture, he feels Hollywood has opened its eyes to bullying behind closed doors.
The crowd with revelations about the Foreign Press Association also takes over the Los Angeles Times, whose investigation last year made public a well-known secret – there is not a single black representative in the organization that distributes the “Golden Globes”.
The publication also revealed that the numerous allegations of ethical and financial conflicts in the organization were true. In response, a number of film studios and advertising companies announced that they would no longer work with the Association. And Philip Burke was fired as chairman after declaring that the Black Lives Matter movement was racist hate speech.
The organization underwent a thorough surgical overhaul to appease NBC, which announced in September that it would broadcast the Golden Globes.
But for Brendan Fraser, these changes don’t matter.
While his latest role in “The Whale” is causing serious buzz around the upcoming awards season, the actor says that even if he is nominated for an award by the Foreign Press Association, he won’t be attending next January’s ceremony.
“My bad memories with the Hollywood Foreign Press Association are greater than my respect for them. They can change a lot of things, but not this. My mother didn’t raise a hypocrite, so – no, she won’t be involved in ” The Golden Globes,” Fraser says.
The organization has yet to apologize to the actor for his initial statement, but today, with perhaps his biggest role about to take over cinemas, he doesn’t need their remorse.
“I made a film to serve the people and I want to be identified with it. I don’t want to be seen as a written-off Hollywood star making a triumphant comeback. I want, at least once, to be recognized for my efforts. I owe it to myself. I owe it to the filmmakers. I owe it to my kids. This is my big chance to prove myself,” says Brendan Fraser.