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Brendan Fraser opens up about finding out son Griffin has autism: 'You blame yourself'

USA TODAY logo USA TODAY 2/8/2023 Naledi Ushe, USA TODAY

Brendan Fraser got candid about his emotions upon first learning his oldest son Griffin has autism.

Fraser, 54, shared on SiriusXM’s "The Howard Stern Show" Tuesday that he makes an extra effort to connect with fans who have autism when he's at public events to assure them it's a space "where they belong."

"My oldest son is autistic, and I know how meaningful it is to their families and to them," he continued. "It means a lot to feel like you can gratify someone just by showing up."

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Fraser said he learned about Griffin's diagnosis, now 20, when his son was turning 2 and was initially "crestfallen" over it.

"The first reaction that I had was, 'I want to know how to fix this. What's the cure? What does this mean?'" he said.

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"You blame yourself and you think, 'my genealogy’ or 'I smoked weed in college,' you start blaming yourself over the reasons why," the actor continued. "Then you learn quickly that I wouldn't have any other way."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, some people with autism have a known difference, such as a genetic condition, while for others the cause of the disorder is not yet known.

"Scientists believe there are multiple causes of (autism spectrum disorder) that act together to change the most common ways people develop," the CDC's website states. "We still have much to learn about these causes and how they impact people with ASD."

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Griffin's overflowing "joy" is part of what makes him admire his son the most. "I want to know what he thinks is so gut-bustingly funny all day long, in a genuine way, he's cracking himself up," Fraser said.

Brendan Fraser says he doesn't want a Golden Globes award, applauds Austin Butler

Fraser discussed a wide range of topics in his interview with Howard Stern, including his frayed relationships with the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which hosts the Golden Globes. "The Whale" actor was nominated for best actor in a drama, which ultimately was awarded to Austin Butler for "Elvis." Fraser called Butler's win "well deserved," adding that he had no interest in winning.

"I found myself wondering ‘Is this a cynical nomination?’" Fraser said. "I couldn’t really tell because of my history with them and that I still have yet to see the results from their reformation. … 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."

Brendan Fraser was nominated for a Golden Globes award for his performance in "The Whale." © A24 via AP Brendan Fraser was nominated for a Golden Globes award for his performance in "The Whale."

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The actor opted not to attend the January ceremony. In 2018, amid the Me Too movement, Fraser accused former HFPA president Philip Berk of groping him at a summer luncheon held by the HFPA. Berk immediately disputed Fraser's accusation. He was later ousted from the organization in 2021 as a board member after sending an email that called Black Lives Matter a "hate movement."

Fraser told Stern the Globes "needed" him as a nominee to salvage that reputation, but he "didn’t need them." He continued, "(Winning) wouldn’t be meaningful to me. Where am I gonna put that hood ornament? What would I do with that?"

Stern asked Fraser if he wished other actors held solidarity with him by boycotting the Globes. "It’s my fight, no one else’s. I don’t need everyone to stand in solidarity with me. … Maybe,” Fraser replied. “But, it 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."

As far as the upcoming Oscars, where he's nominated for best actor, Fraser said he would "absolutely" want that award. "I'm gonna be ready," he said in the event that he has to make an acceptance speech. "There are plenty of people for me to thank for bringing me to the place that I find myself in now. It's been a circuitous path that I've followed — ups and downs."

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Contributing: Charles Trepany

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Brendan Fraser opens up about finding out son Griffin has autism: 'You blame yourself'



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