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Busy Philipps Accuses James Franco of Assaulting Her on Set

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In her upcoming memoir, actress Busy Philipps accuses Freaks and Geeks costar James Franco of physically assaulting her on set.

A passage from This Will Only Hurt a Little, which was obtained by Radar Online, then verified by other publications, details how in 1999 Philipps was directed to hit Franco lightly on the chest during a scene. Afterward, Franco stopped acting.

"He grabbed both my arms and screamed in my face, 'DON'T EVER TOUCH ME AGAIN!'" Philipps recalls. "And he threw me to the ground. Flat on my back. Wind knocked out of me."

Franco then stormed off while the crew ran over to help her back to her feet, according to Philipps. He apologized to her the next day after being told to do so by the director and producers, but he was never punished for his action, she writes.

Franco's representatives did not respond to a request for comment from Variety.

Earlier this year, when Franco was the front-runner for the Best Actor Oscar for his performance in The Disaster Artist, five women came forward to accuse him of inappropriate behavior and exploitation on and off set. One woman, Violet Paley, tweeted that Franco forced her head toward his exposed penis in a car, and also said he preyed on her underage friend. Sarah Tither-Kaplan claimed that Franco said she was contractually obligated to be fully nude on set for $100 per day.

 

Days after posing with a "Time's Up" pin at the Golden Globes, where he took home an award, Franco denied the allegations on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert.

“The things that I heard that were on Twitter are not accurate, but I completely support people coming out and being able to have a voice because they didn’t have a voice for so long,” Franco told the host. 

In her book, Philipps calls Franco a "fucking bully." She had previously discussed the alleged assault in a 2016 appearance on Watch What Happens Live, where she noted that she and Franco "really, really disliked each other" during the run of Freaks and Geeks but had later made amends.

"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 on the late-night show. "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."

While promoting her book, Philipps also opened up on The Ellen DeGeneres Show about being raped at 14. In the same episode, host DeGeneres discussed her own experience of being molested when she was 15.

This Will Only Hurt a Little goes on sale October 16.

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