Brendan Fraser has transformed from a Hollywood ghost to a whale of a commanding actor, with plenty of Oscar buzz swirling around his name thanks to his performance in Darren Aronofsky's The Whale. Zach Baron checks in with him in a GQ cover story and wastes little time in reminding readers about the "startling allegation" Fraser went public with—via a GQ article written by Baron—in 2018: that former Hollywood Foreign Press Association President Philip Berk groped Fraser at a lunch at the Beverly Hills Hotel 15 years prior. Why resurface the detail? "The story quickly became the most read in the history of the magazine," writes Baron, who explains it felt all but impossible to be face-to-face with Fraser again and not discuss their previous interview.
Fraser tells Baron the experience left him feeling exposed but also liberated. "It was a weight removed." But an HFPA investigation determined the inappropriate touching "was intended to be taken as a joke and not as a sexual advance." Berk wasn't punished, at least not then; he was expelled from the HFPA in 2021 after sharing an article that described Black Lives Matter as a "racist hate movement." NBC refused to broadcast the Golden Globes in 2022 as a result, but it's back to normal for January's 2023 show. And if Fraser is invited, which seems likely, it's a hard no. "It’s because of the history that I have with them. And my mother didn’t raise a hypocrite. You can call me a lot of things, but not that." (Read the full story, which delves into Fraser's feelings about his "comeback.")