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11 years ago, Brendan Fraser threatened to sue the Hollywood Foreign Press Association under unfortunate circumstances. He claimed the president of the organization, known for putting on The Golden Globes, reached behind him and grabbed his ass during a formal charity dinner. The story attracted a few curious double takes back in the day, but now, it has taken on a second life after the president in question, Philip Berk, decided to tackle the subject in his explosive autobiography With Signs And Wonders.
The incident in question happened during an event to celebrate an HFPA donation to FilmAid International. Fraser was there to take a few pictures and formally present the check when he began talking to Berk. If the journalist is to be believed, he asked Fraser about swirling rumors that he pinched the group's female ex-president during the previous year's Golden Globes. To illustrate, he allegedly gave Fraser a pinch on the butt, who then exclaimed, "He pinched my ass!" At the time, he allegedly thought the Blast From The Past actor took the gesture in good fun, but not long after, the HFPA allegedly got hit with a letter threatening legal action. So, he fired off a letter in response apologizing for the incident.
Almost immediately after receiving the letter, various publications got ahold of it and made the matter public, leading Berk to emphatically deny he squeezed anyone's butt and claim he wrote the letter simply to ward off legal action. Obviously, that wasn't completely the case, but then again, most people didn't expect it was back in the day. After all, most actors don't go around making up stories about the president of the Golden Globes grabbing their asses.
The Hollywood Foreign Press Association is probably the single shadiest organization in Hollywood. It boasts less than one hundred members, and it bizarrely excludes high profile journalists from high end publications, instead most often accepting memberships from journalists who write for smaller publications. Why? Allegedly because members of the group are very territorial and just one dissenting voice can keep someone out of the organization. Berk ran the HFPA for years. He was proceeded by a woman who was at times accused of embezzlement and wound up being sued by other members of the organization while she was still in charge. In short, this fits right in.
A prior version of this article included the word "hilariously" to describe the incident repeatedly coming back up. It was a poor choice of language. In the time since, Brendan Fraser has spoken publicly about his version of the events, in which he claims it was a whole lot more invasive than just a quick butt pinch. As such, the language has been changed to reflect the alleged severity of the incident.