Actress Bijou Phillips faces accusations of harassment, assault
Almost Famous actress Bijou Phillips has just been hit with major allegations from a former co-star.
On Nov. 12, 2017, actor Daniel Franzese, who’s best known for his role as Damian in Mean Girls, accused Phillips of harassment and assault in a lengthy post on Facebook, detailing the alleged inappropriate behavior on the set of their 2001 film Bully.
“She body shamed me and ridiculed me about my sexuality and physically assaulted me,” wrote Franzese, who was inspired to come forward with his story after Ellen Page called out director Brett Ratner for homophobic harassment. “I was scared and closeted and feared for my job. It started with a lot of eye rolling whenever we spoke but escalated when we did a cast shoot for the poster. As we were shooting she kept loudly saying ‘Are you gay?!’ and laughing while the producers and photographer did nothing to stop her.”
Despite co-stars Michael Pitt and Brad Renfro attempting to stop Phillips from making such comments, she allegedly went on. “[S]he continued to say ‘Are You Gay?!’ Like 10 times making sure to be loud enough for everyone to hear. I reluctantly told her i was bi,” Franzese, now 39 years old, recounted. “Which at the time was how I was choosing to identify as ‘Q’ wasn’t known to be an option yet and to be honest I don’t know that I had many gay experiences at the time my life. I was an extremely late bloomer. She cackled and said ‘HA! He’s bi!’ And then when I showed up to work the next day in front of the crew she was screaming ‘Oh look! The Bi guy is here!'”
Franzese, who described himself as “the chubby kid who wore his shirt in the pool,” later recalled a moment when he had to appear shirtless in a scene. He said that when he took his shirt off, Phillips pointed at his body and screamed, “Ewwww gross!!!” He added that she’d make faces at him during filming, causing an upset Renfro to request “a real actress.”
Later, Franzese was told that Phillips wanted to apologize to him. While he initially did not want to hear from her, he still went to her trailer to speak with her, as someone had told him she’d requested he visit her. When he went in, Franzese alleged that she appeared to be having sex with her then-boyfriend Nick Stahl.
“The look on Nick’s face suggested he didn’t know I was headed in but the look on hers suggested she did,” he noted.
According to Franzese, Phillips later apologized to him and compared him to Carnie Wilson, who has publicly struggled with her weight. “It was meant to be a insult,” he wrote, adding, “She then grabbed my nipple and twisted it hard through my shirt and laughed and walked away.”
Unfortunately for Franzese, Phillips’ alleged abuse didn’t end there. He said she later rubbed her dirty feet (she’d previously shot a scene in which she walked barefoot) on the actor’s neck and once kicked him on the back of the head. “To this day I’m not even sure if she gave me a concussion because I was light headed and dizzy for a while,” he wrote.
Franzese concluded by noting that Phillips may have changed since he knew her—she’s since married That ’70s Show star Danny Masterson, with whom she shares a daughter, and is reportedly a member of Scientology—but he believes that his experience on set with the actress gave him PTSD and caused him to “stay closeted for a long time.”
Phillips, now 37, has since addressed Franzese’s claims, telling TMZ, “I want to write to address what Daniel has said. I don’t remember that time well, those years are a blur. I was a teenager and reckless in my behavior. I know Daniel to be a trustworthy and honest person, and to find out through social media that I was not the friend I thought I was to him made me so sad.”
She added, “I am so mortified by this behavior and have contacted Daniel and apologized to him privately. I am not and never have been homophobic. I have nothing but love for the LGBTQ community and Daniel.”
In the early hours of Monday, Nov. 13, 2017, Franzese tweeted out that he’d received the apology from Phillips, which he accepted.
Sadly, Franzese is hardly the first person in Hollywood to accuse a star of sexual harassment and/or abuse in recent months. After The New York Times and The New Yorker exposed movie producer Harvey Weinstein’s alleged history of sexual misconduct, entertainment industry bigwigs like Kevin Spacey and James Toback have been called out by actors and crew members for their alleged pattern of inappropriate behavior.