Busy Philipps says James Franco assaulted her on 'Freaks and Geeks' set

"He grabbed both my arms and screamed in my face, 'DON'T EVER TOUCH ME AGAIN!'" Philipps writes in her book.
by Variety /
Image: Busy Philipps as Kim Kelly, James Franco as Daniel Desario  in Freaks and Geeks.
Busy Philipps as Kim Kelly, James Franco as Daniel Desario in "Freaks and Geeks."NBC via Getty Images

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LOS ANGELES — 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.

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