Busy Philipps claims that her Freaks and Geeks co-star James Franco was a “bully” and assaulted her on the set of the 1999 TV series while they were filming a scene.
In an excerpt from her upcoming memoir, This Will Only Hurt a Little, Philipps says the scene required her character to gently hit Franco in his chest during their dialogue together.
After she hit Franco, the actor allegedly broke character and attacked her.
“He grabbed both my arms and screamed in my face, ‘DON’T EVER TOUCH ME AGAIN!’” Philipps writes in her book. “And he threw me to the ground. Flat on my back. Wind knocked out of me.”
Philipps alleges that Franco stormed off and she says she broke down in front of fellow co-star Linda Cardellini, who told Philipps to report the incident to her manager.
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Franco apologized the next day after being ordered to by the director and producers. She also says that Franco was never punished for his behaviour.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter (THR), Phillips added context to the allegations.
“At the time, 19, and with my first professional acting job, I was under the impression that this was just the way things were,” she told THR. “James and I have talked about it over the years. At one point he apologized to me.”
“I was always acutely aware of my expendability, and so I felt I needed to never complain, always show up on time and not be difficult. If someone else was being difficult, it was my job to be the easy one or figure out a way to soothe the situation,” she said.
Freaks and Geeks premiered in 1999 and ran for one season. It featured cast members Franco, Philipps, Cardellini, Jason Segal, Seth Rogan, John Daley, Martin Starr and Samm Levine.
This isn’t the first time Philipps has spoken about Franco’s alleged behaviour.
In 2016, during an appearance on Andy Cohen’s Watch What Happens Live, she said they “really, really disliked each other.”
“He felt like he wanted his character to be one way. He had had a discussion with the producers that he came from an abused family or something, and so he didn’t want his girlfriend — I played his girlfriend — to ever physically hit him,” Philipps said. “I never knew this conversation existed, and in an improv, I smacked him on the thing, and he was like, ‘Don’t ever touch me,’ and grabbed me and shoved me to the ground. It was an overreaction by a 19-year-old dude. And it was weird and people’s agents had to be called and he had to apologize to me.”
Philipps’ allegations against Franco come less than a year after five women accused The Disaster Artist actor of sexual misconduct.
Franco denied the previous allegations against him.
He has not commented on recent Philipps allegations as of this writing.