‘It was causing me emotional distress’: Brendan Fraser reflects on speaking up about alleged sexual assault

Brendan Fraser has opened up about how going public about an alleged sexual assault affected his career.

The actor, 54, is making his Hollywood comeback in The Whale, in which he portrays an obese and reclusive English teacher who attempts to reconnect with his estranged daughter.

In 2018, Fraser alleged that he was groped by Philip Berk, the former president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, at a luncheon in 2003.

Berk firmly denied the claims, calling Fraser’s account “a total fabrication”. No charges were ever brought against Berk, but Fraser did receive an apology from the HFPA.

In a new interview with CBS News, Fraser was asked if the assault claims “derailed” his career, to which he replied: “Well, yes, because there’s a system in place that is about power. And I had played by the rules up until that point.


“I felt like, OK, now, suddenly, I’ve been violated. And it has gone too far. And I will no longer abide this. It was causing me emotional distress, it was causing me personal distress.”

He added: “I spoke up because I saw so many of my friends and colleagues who, at that time, were bravely emerging to speak their truth to power [in the #MeToo movement]. And I had something to say, too.”

Brendan Fraser (Invision)
Brendan Fraser (Invision)

Earlier this year, Fraser said he would not participate in the 2023 Golden Globes, despite it being very likely he will earn a nomination for his leading role in the Oscars frontrunner The Whale.

Read The Independent’s four-star review of The Whale here.

The Whale is out in the US on 9 December and in the UK on 3 February 2023.