Out actor Daniel Franzese has come forward to accuse Bijou Phillips of harassment and homophobia while the two were filming Larry Clark’s 2001 drama Bully.
“I am telling this story of homophobia and abuse because Ellen Page shared hers,” he wrote on Facebook Saturday. “On my first film, Bully, I was harassed by Bijou Phillips the entire shoot. She body-shamed me and ridiculed me about my sexuality and physically assaulted me.”
Franzese was closeted at the time and says he was fearful of losing his job.
“It was such a blessing to get a foot into Hollywood’s door but I was greeted at that door with homophobia, body-shaming and abuse,” says Franzese who went on to have a breakout role in 2004’s Mean Girls, as well as parts in Recovery Road and Looking.
Franzese claims Phillips taunted him about his sexuality from the start, mocking him about his weight and for identifying as bisexual. At one point things became physical when she allegedly twisted his nipple and “kicked me as hard as she could in the back of the head.”
The actor also alleges Phillips harangued other cast members and even burned the costume designer with a cigarette. “Brad Renfro (RIP) started crying and he followed me off set grabbed my face and kissed me,” Franzese recalls after one particularly cruel incident. “He told me not to listen to her that I was beautiful and such a great actor etc and i loved him and respected him so much for that moment.”
The abusive behavior pushed him deeper into the closet, he says, and gave him PTSD. “I have told this story to magazines, TV shows and Q&A’s but I feel like it is always cut out of the article or has never really been heard.”
The youngest child of Mamas and the Papas cofounder John Phillips, Phillips had her first magazine cover at age 13 when she appeared on the cover of Italian Vogue. As an actress she appeared in Almost Famous (2000), The Door in the Floor (2004), Hostel: Part II (2007), and from 2010 to 2013 played Lucy Carlyle on Raising Hope.
The now 37-year-old actress and model has been open about her battle with drugs and alcohol as a young person.
“If you were 14 years old and able to live on your own in an apartment in New York City, and you got invited to all these clubs, and you got a bank account and you had a car service you could call so that you could go wherever you wanted… what would happen?” she said in 2002.
“Those years are a blur,” Phillips told TMZ on Monday. “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 she was “mortified” by her behavior and reached out to Franzese to apologize privately. “I am not and never have been homophobic. I have nothing but love for the LGBTQ community and Daniel.”
He tweeted Sunday night that he has received and accepted her apology.
We’ve all been hurt and we’ve all hurt someone. I️ accept your apology on the grace you can afford the same mercy to someone else one day.
— Daniel Franzese (@WhatsupDanny) November 13, 2017