Actress Busy Phillips writes says in a forthcoming memoir that James Franco, her former “Freaks and Geeks” co-star, once assaulted her on set, calling him a "f--king bully."
According to excerpts of “This Will Only Hurt A Little,” originally obtained by Radar Online, Philipps described an occasion when Franco pushed her to the ground while they were filming a scene together, Yahoo reports. Philipps wrote that she was instructed to hit Franco in the chest while they both delivered their lines, but after she did it, Franco got upset enough that he physically assaulted her.
“He grabbed both my arms and screamed in my face, ‘DON’T EVER TOUCH ME AGAIN!’” she wrote, according to Yahoo. “And he threw me to the ground. Flat on my back. Wind knocked out of me.”
Franco’s behavior reportedly left bystanders on set shocked, and Philipps later broke down in tears in front of another “Freaks and Geeks” co-star, Linda Cardellini, who suggested that Philipps tell her manager about the incident, according to Yahoo. The show’s producers and directors reportedly got Franco to apologize the next day, but Philipps wrote that he was never explicitly punished for the assault, Yahoo reports. Philipps called the forced apology “barely a slap on the wrist” in her book, and blamed Franco’s behavior, and the lackluster reaction of higher-ups, on the “boys’ club” atmosphere, according to Page Six.
“James was full of bad behavior, so why would this be treated any differently,” she wrote, according to the outlet.
Philipps’ memoir will be hitting shelves on Oct. 16.
As Page Six pointed out, Philipps has spoken publicly about the incident at least twice before: once, during a 2011 panel discussion with the "Freaks and Geeks" cast and again, during a visit to “Watch What Happens Live” in 2016, where she said of Franco, “We’re friends now and we really like each other now as adults, but as kids we did not get along.”
While discussing the incident in 2011, Philipps explained that Franco claimed to have pushed her because he felt that his character, who had an abusive father, would realistically be physically distant from his girlfriend (portrayed by Philipps). However, Franco did not share his thoughts on his character's motivations with the director or Philipps before filming the scene, she said.
Franco is one of many men in Hollywood who have been accused of sexual misconduct in the wake of the #MeToo movement, but he has largely avoided any major backlash, despite the stories of five women who say Franco behaved inappropriately in professional settings. The actor denied all allegations via his attorney, The Los Angeles Times reports, and during a visit to the “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” in January, he claimed that the allegations against him “are not accurate.”
[Photo: Getty Images]