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‘Why’s he not behind bars?’: Fans Rally Behind Brendan Fraser After Batgirl Gets Shelved, Dig Out Sexual Harassment By Philip Berk Against The Mummy Star That Destroyed His Career

Brendan Fraser was once Hollywood’s love child, its golden-haired blue-eyed boy who would go on to become a ubiquitous presence throughout the 90s. The beginning of the last decade of the 20th century launched him into the global market with his breakout role in Encino Man. That role would go on to define and dictate his place in Hollywood for the rest of the coming decade.

Brendan Fraser's leading role in The Mummy (1997)
Brendan Fraser’s career-defining role in The Mummy (1997)

Also read: Brendan Fraser: Unknown Facts About Hollywood’s Next Heart-Throb After Keanu Reeves

When Fraser started garnering more publicity on account of his wide-eyed characterizations on screen, his filmography culminated in a genre that placed him in a mold of a wide-eyed man-boy. He soon bagged the roles that would make him a household name — Blast from the PastDudley Do-RightGeorge of the JungleSchool Ties, and of course, The Mummy franchise.

Related article: Why Disney Is Making an Encino Man Sequel — The Movie That Gave Us The Legend Brendan Fraser

The Physical Toll of Hollywood on Brendan Fraser

As time wore on, the unprecedented horrors of overexposure to the limelight and constantly working on films gradually started building on and taking its toll on Fraser’s physical health. Coupled with the sexual assault that he suffered in 2003, the next decade that he spent under the knife in hospitals, and the loss of his mother in 2016, Fraser couldn’t catch a break. Speaking of his health, he says:

“By the time I did the third ‘Mummy’ picture in China, I was put together with tape and ice… I was building an exoskeleton for myself daily. I needed a laminectomy. And the lumbar didn’t take, so they had to do it again a year later.”

Fraser's transformative years in Hollywood
Fraser’s transformative years in Hollywood

In the GQ interview, he went on to reveal the partial knee replacement that was needed, followed by more work on his back which required bolting several compressed spinal pads together. Fraser had to have his vocal cords repaired as well, at one point.

Also read: ‘Thank You For the Love and Belief’: Leslie Grace Finally Breaks Silence After WB Cancels Batgirl, Says She Will Be Batgirl For Life

The Assault of Brendan Fraser at the Hands of Philip Beck

In 2003, at a luncheon event organized by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, Fraser was greeted by Philip Berk, now former President of HFPA. However, the incident escalated to sexual misconduct on Berk’s part which Fraser relates in this gut-wrenching and horrific detail:

His left hand reaches around, grabs my ass cheek, and one of his fingers touches me in the taint. And he starts moving it around. I felt ill. I felt like a little kid. I felt like there was a ball in my throat. I thought I was going to cry. I felt like someone had thrown invisible paint on me. I didn’t want to contend with how that made me feel, or it becoming part of my narrative.”

Brendan Fraser
Brendan Fraser

GQ reports that Brendan Fraser’s representatives asked for Philip Berk’s formal written apology and although the latter did send a note, he later claimed, “My apology admitted no wrongdoing, the usual ‘If I’ve done anything that upset Mr. Fraser, it was not intended and I apologize.’” 

Related article: Brendan Fraser Looks Unrecognizable As Insane Transformation Sees Him Put On 600 Pounds for Darren Aronofsky’s The Whale

Fans Rally Behind Brendan Fraser in the Aftermath of Batgirl

After the incident at the HFPA, Brendan Fraser began getting blacklisted from the Golden Globes (which is hosted by the organization). He started being left out of calls for movie or series deals and slowly disappeared from the public eye. Years later, he would go on to snag a part in the third season of The Affair. Slowly, but surely, the actor then emerged from the incident that left him depressed and with a conflicting identity of who he was.

Brendan Fraser plays antagonist Firefly in Batgirl
Brendan Fraser plays antagonist Firefly in Batgirl

Also read: Doom Patrol: 12 Crazy Facts About DC’s Weirdest Superhero Team

His roles in DC’s Doom Patrol and Batgirl had brought him again to the forefront. Fraser was supposed to appear as Firefly, one of DC comics’ major antagonists that had never before been portrayed on such a scale. However, with the Zaslav-management cutting off the film’s take-off, Fraser once again finds himself thrown back to the unjust and flailing currents of public oblivion.

Source: GQ

Written by Diya Majumdar