The Golden Globes may have mounted a comeback earlier this year, with many stars in attendance, but one notable absence was The Whale‘s Brendan Fraser, who still wants nothing to do with the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s annual awards gala.
In an interview with Howard Stern, the actor did not mince words on his feelings about the Globes, calling them a “hood ornament” that “would mean nothing to me” adding that he never asked to be considered for in the first place.
Stefanie Keenan/Getty Brendan Fraser at the Critics Choice Awards 2023
Fraser’s ire with the HFPA goes back to 2003 when, Fraser alleges, the organization’s former president Phillip Berk sexually assaulted him. Fraser detailed the incident, which Berk denies, in a 2018 GQ profile that asked, “What ever happened” to the actor. Fraser believes the fallout from the Berk encounter led to him being blacklisted in Hollywood, but if Hollywood loves a downfall, it also loves a comeback. Now that he’s garnering the best reviews of his career, Fraser’s not about to let the Globes off the hook — making it clear he wouldn’t be attending this year’s ceremony.
“I found myself wondering is this a cynical nomination. I couldn’t really tell because of my history with them and that I still have yet to see the results from their reformation. We all are still awaiting that, to tell you the truth,” Fraser told Stern. The Globes faced a massive backlash in February 2021 after an L.A. Times exposé uncovered that there were no Black members among the HFPA’s votership. After NBC pulled the broadcast in 2022, it returned this year following some changes the HFPA made to its voting body.
“Get it or don’t get it, doesn’t matter. What does matter is that it would mean nothing to me. I don’t want it. I didn’t ask to be considered even, that was presumed. I know that would displease many people for lots of reasons,” Fraser said. “They needed me, I didn’t need them. Because it wouldn’t be meaningful to me. Where am I gonna put that hood ornament? What would I do with that?”
Though he was nominated at the Globes, Fraser lost out to Austin Butler for his performance in Elvis, which Fraser called “well deserved” and “a big win for him.” Fraser doesn’t expect the rest of Hollywood to take the same hardline stance against the HFPA, saying, “it’s my fight, no one else’s” and “I don’t need everyone to stand in solidarity with me.” That, he said, would “be a leap of faith for whoever that would be. It would be a calculated risk and it could also be trivialized very easily by the cynical view of this all.”
After the 2018 GQ story, the HFPA issued a statement that it “stands firmly against sexual harassment.” According to the actor, the HFPA wanted him to co-sign a joint statement that read, “Although it was concluded that Mr. Berk inappropriately touched Mr. Fraser, the evidence supports that it was intended to be taken as a joke and not as a sexual advance.” Fraser ultimately did not sign the statement.
“It would be meaningful — if they wanted to make amends — to issue an apology that made sense … that they share the investigation that they did into me and my family and my friends,” Fraser told Stern. “I never saw the result of that report. They wouldn’t give it to me, they said no it’s ours. So whatever’s in it they don’t want me to read it. Instead I was given a press release that said it was a joke.”
Fraser did have at least one relatively kind thing to say about the Globes, reserving praise for their decision to put Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky “front and center” during the broadcast.
“They let him have the stage, and that’s a powerful statement and something I can get behind and support,” Fraser added.