×

Busy Philipps Says James Franco Physically Assaulted Her on ‘Freaks and Geeks’ Set

Actress Busy Philipps doesn’t mince her words when it comes to describing her former co-star James Franco’s behavior while they filmed the 1999 TV series “Freaks and Geeks.” She says Franco was a “f—ing” bully on set and once shoved her to the ground.

In an excerpt from Philipps’ upcoming memoir, “This Will Only Hurt a Little,” obtained by Radar Online and verified by other outlets, Philipps recalls being instructed to lightly hit Franco in the chest for a scene on the show. Franco then broke character and attacked her, she alleges.

“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.”

Franco then stormed off, Philipps says, and apologized the next day after being ordered to by the director and producers. However, he was never punished for his behavior.

This isn’t the first time Philipps has spoken about Franco’s alleged behavior. During her 2016 appearance on Andy Cohen’s “Watch What Happens Live,” she said the two “really, really disliked each other,” and elaborated on his behavior.

“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,” Busy 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.”

Franco, now 40, has been accused by five women of sexual misconduct, although he has refuted the claims. Philipps has been vocal in her support of Christine Blasey Ford, and details in her new book, out Oct. 16, that she was sexually assaulted at a young age. On Sept. 27 — the same day Ford testified that Brett Kavanaugh assaulted her when they were in high school — Philipps posted on Instagram that she was raped when she was 14 years old.

“It’s taken me 25 years to say those words,” she wrote. “I finally told my parents and sister about it 4 months ago. Today is the day we are silent no more. All of us. I’m scared to post this. I can’t imagine what Dr. Ford is feeling right now.”

Franco’s reps didn’t respond to Variety‘s request for comment.

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • Steven Knight

    BBC Orders Steven Knight Drama Series ‘SAS: Rogue Heroes’

    The BBC has ordered “SAS: Rogue Heroes,” which is being adapted by “Peaky Blinders” creator Steven Knight, Oscar nominated for “Dirty Pretty Things,” from Ben Macintyre’s book. The drama series will tell the story of how the British special forces unit, the SAS, came to be formed. The series is being produced by Kudos, whose [...]

  • Masters of the Universe: Revelation

    Kevin Smith Announces Anime 'He-Man' Series for Netflix

    Kevin Smith surprised audiences at Sunday’s annual Power-Con convention by announcing a new anime “He-Man” series for Netflix. The new series, titled “Masters of the Universe: Revelation,” will take place in the Mattel toy inspired world and will focus on some of the unresolved storylines of the classic ‘80s show. Smith will serve as showrunner [...]

  • T.J. Dillashaw, right, kicks Cody Garbrandt

    Disney Plans UFC Broadcast for FX

    UFC matches will return to FX  – but not on a permanent basis. ESPN has been showing preliminary bouts to UFC pay-per-view events for the last while on ESPN and ESPN2, and then showing the main card on its ESPN+ subscription video service. In September, the early lineup will air on FX, which the UFC [...]

  • George RR Martin

    George R.R. Martin Says HBO's 'Game of Thrones' Ending Won't Influence Future Novels

    Geroge R.R. Martin is sticking to his original plan when it comes to the future of “Game of Thrones.” In an interview with The Observer, Martin claimed that HBO’s controversial ending for the series would have no affect on the endings of the last two novels. “No, it doesn’t. It doesn’t change anything at all,” [...]

  • Listen: 'Pennyworth' Producer Talks Delving into

    Listen: 'Pennyworth' Executive Producer Talks Delving into Alfred's Backstory

    Bruno Heller may have served as an executive producer on the Batman-inspired series “Gotham” for the past five years, but it’s actually real-life people (not superheroes) that intrigue the producer the most. It’s for that exact reason that Heller’s newest series finds him exploring the origin stories of Batman’s butler Alfred in the Epix drama [...]

  • "Trust Issues" - Dylan and Lizzie

    'Instinct' Canceled After Two Seasons

    CBS has canceled “Instinct” after two seasons. Series creator Michael Rauch announced the cancellation Friday on Twitter, writing, “I’m very sad to relay the news that @instinctcbs won’t be renewed for a 3rd season. We will double up this Sunday and our season/series finale will be Aug 25.” Rauch also thanked series stars Alan Cumming [...]

  • Maisel Day

    My Mostly OK Maisel Day (Column)

    When Amazon announced its first-ever Maisel Day, I was intrigued. For one day, Aug. 15, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” fans and Angelenos (fangelenos?) could hit up various restaurants, theaters and retailers throughout Los Angeles for special deals, all at 1959 prices. Among the gems: $2.50 makeovers, $0.99 pastrami sandwiches and $0.30 for a gallon of [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content