Actor Brendan Fraser may now be an Oscar winner, but there was a time when he was blacklisted from Hollywood for a heartbreaking reason.
Fraser, 54, beat Austin Butler, Colin Farrell, Paul Mescal and Bill Nighy in the Best Actor in a Leading Role category at the 95th Academy Awards, following widespread acclaim for his poignant turn as a 600lb recluse in The Whale.
The actor had been a huge star in the late 90s and early 00s with movies like The Mummy and George Of The Jungle, but he then disappeared from the spotlight.
It turned out Fraser wasn’t out of work by choice, but because he felt he’s been ‘blacklisted’ by Hollywood after opening up in 2018 about historic abuse.
The actor claimed that he was the victim of sexual abuse in Hollywood, alleging that former president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) Philip Berk sexually abused him.
In an interview with GQ in 2018, Fraser said his career ‘withered on a vine’ after he was allegedly groped by Berk at a HFPA luncheon event back in 2003, leaving him feeling ‘miserable’, ‘depressed’ and ‘reclusive’.
The 53 year old said: “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… In my mind, at least, something had been taken away from me.”
Berk, who is still a member of the HFPA, previously tried to describe the incident as a joke in his 2014 memoir, and in a recent statement given to GQ, he added: “His career declined through no fault of ours.”
After his shocking revelation, Fraser received a written apology, but claims he found himself shut out from the HFPA and the Golden Globes awards, leading him to wonder if he’d been blacklisted.
After this, the actor suffered personal setbacks including issues with his own health, divorce and the loss of his mother.
However, he is now coming back stronger than ever, having just scooped his first ever Oscar for his turn in The Whale.
Tearing up, he said he was ‘so grateful for the award’, coming on stage and saying: “So this is what the multiverse looks like!
“I thank the academy for this honour… Darren Aronofsky for throwing me a creative lifeline and hauling me aboard the good ship The Whale.”
Addressing his fellow best actor nominees, he said actors laid their ‘whale-sized hearts bare’, saying it was his ‘honour’ to be named alongside them in this category.”
Fraser went on: “I want to tell you that only whales can swim at the depths of the talent of Hong Chau.
“I started in this business 30 years ago…there was a facility that that I didn’t appreciate at the time until it stopped.”
He added: “I just want to say thank you for this acknowledgement because it could not be done without my cast.”