Veteran actress Busy Phillips has her new memoir, “This Will Only Hurt a Little,” out next week and in an excerpt that’s making the rounds online, she calls former co-star James Franco a “bully,” adding that he actually put his hands on her during the filming of a scene years back.
Phillips and Franco starred together in the 90’s show “Freaks and Geeks” and during one take, the script called for the actress to playfully hit Franco in the chest. She says he did not appreciate the contact while the cameras were rolling.
“He grabbed both my arms and screamed in my face, ‘DON’T EVER TOUCH ME AGAIN!’ she writes in her memoir, which was obtained and verified by “GMA.”
“And he threw me to the ground. Flat on my back. Wind knocked out of me.”
She says Franco eventually apologized to her the next day at the behest of the producers and the director.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Phillips added context to the writing in her book. Like many women in Hollywood culture have said, Phillips writes that she always felt like she was forced to play the role of pacifist, no matter who was right or wrong.
“At the time, 19, and with my first professional acting job, I was under the impression that this was just the way things were,” she told THR. “James and I have talked about it over the years. At one point he apologized to me.
“I was always acutely aware of my expendability, and so I felt I needed to never complain, always show up on time and not be difficult If someone else was being difficult, it was my job to be the easy one or figure out a way to soothe the situation,” she said.
This isn’t the first time Phillips has told this story. It’s worth noting that in a 2016 interview, she told the same story but said the two are friends now and that’s all in the past.
“He, like, shoved me to the ground once,” she said on “Watch What Happens Live.” “It was really brutal.” But, she said, “we’re friends now and we really like each other now as adults.”
A request for comment from Franco’s rep was not immediately returned to ABC News.
This isn’t the first time Franco’s reputation has been questioned this year. After the #MeToo movement, five women spoke out earlier this year to the Los Angeles Times — some former students who felt exploited for what they perceived as career advancement. One said she felt pressured into a sexual act while the two had already begun a relationship.
One woman told the newspaper that the parts offered to students in Franco’s projects often “required nudity,” while another woman alleged Franco removed plastic guards from the women’s genitals during a shoot and then simulated sex acts.
In January, Franco spoke to both “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” and “Late Night with Seth Meyers,” and said, “I pride myself on taking responsibility for things I’ve done,” he said, reiterating his position that the accounts were false.
Franco has said that although he disputes the claims, he supports the idea that women and other groups should be able to speak out.
“One of the things that I’ve learned is that this is a conversation that obviously needs to be had,” he told Meyers. “There are people, women and others who have not been a part of this conversation … I have my own side of this story, but … these people that have been underrepresented getting their stories out, enough that I will … hold back things that I could say just because I believe in it that much.”
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