MEAN Girls actor Daniel Franzese has claimed actress Bijou Phillips subjected him to “homophobia, body shaming and physical abuse” while filming the 2001 movie Bully.
As Hollywood reels from a string of sexual abuse allegations, Franzese has posted about the harassment he allegedly suffered on set at the hands of Phillips.
In a lengthy Facebook post, Franzese — who shot to fame playing the character of Damian in the 2004 film Mean Girls — claimed Phillips had taunted him for his sexuality, twisted his nipple and kicked him in the back of the head on the set of Bully.
He later wrote on Twitter that Philips had apologised for her actions and said that he forgave her, writing: “I forgive because I don’t know her private story either. I shared this story only to bring light to a dark memory.”
Franzese’s claim come just one week after Phillips’ husband, That 70s Show star Danny Masterson, was accused of raping four women.
Masterson denies the allegations, and has not been charged with any crime.
Phillips addressed Frazese’s claim in a statement to gossip website TMZ.
“I want to write to address what Daniel has said. I don’t remember that time well, those years are a blur. I was a teenager and reckless in my behaviour. 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,” Phillips said.
“I am so mortified by this behaviour and have contacted Daniel and apologised to him privately. I am not and never have been homophobic. I have nothing but love for the LGBTQ community and Daniel.”
Franzese, who said he was “closeted” at the time, described how Phillips had “kept loudly saying, ‘Are you gay?!’ and laughing while the producers and photographer did nothing to stop her.”
He said that his fellow cast members, Micheal Pitt and Brad Renfro, who died in 2008, had tried to intervene on his behalf but claims she continued to say: “Are You Gay?!’ like 10 times, making sure to be loud.”
Franzese said he admitted he was bisexual, saying Phillips mocked him shouting; “The bi guy is here!”
The 39-year-old said that later on in the film, he’d had to take off his shirt as part of the role.
The actor said it had been an “extremely vulnerable moment” for him as he wasn’t comfortable with his body.
“So I take my shirt off in the scene and she breaks character and she pointed at my body and at the top of her lungs yelled ‘Ewwww gross!!!’ She laughed and pointed at me and continued to berate me. They call cut and I had to walk off-set to collect myself,” he said.
Franzese also claimed that even after that “brutal” moment, Phillips had continued to make “taunting faces”.
Franzese, who alleged that Phillips had also burned the Bully costume designer with a cigarette and threw eggs at their trailer, said that the abuse he suffered “gave me a PTSD that had me stay closeted for a long time.”
The actor said he had decided to come forward after 16 years, after being inspired by actress Ellen Page’s Facebook post, accusing Brett Ratner of homophobic abuse on the set of X Men: The Last Stand.