Busy Phillips has said that James Franco assaulted her years ago on the set of “Freaks and Geeks,” shoving her to the ground and knocking the wind out of her after she followed a script direction to touch him.
According to Page Six, Phillips wrote in her memoir This Will Only Hurt a Little that Franco lashed out at her during a scene that required her to hit him on the chest during dialogue, as she was saying “Dammit Daniel, do something!”
“He grabbed both my arms and screamed in my face, ‘DON’T EVER TOUCH ME AGAIN!’” Phillips reportedly wrote.“And he threw me to the ground. Flat on my back. Wind knocked out of me.”
Phillips also described Franco as a “f**cking bully” during the filming of “Freaks and Geeks.”
At the time of the incident, Franco was 21 and Phillips was 13. They played an on-and-off couple on the teen drama created by Paul Feig and written by Judd Apatow.
The entire cast, minus Franco, had previously discussed the incident at the 2011 PaleyFest. Phillips explained that Franco had asked that his character never engage in physicality on the show because of his character’s backstory of having an abusive father, but that neither she or the episode writer knew this. Though Phillips laughed while talking about it then, she and another cast member recalled her crying in a trailer sometime after it had happened. During the discussion, which quickly turned back to Franco’s talent, Apatow says that Franco has always been a “method” actor and notes that he is the only one among the “Freaks and Geeks” cast to win an Academy Award.
In the memoir, Phillips wrote that Apatow and Feig were not on set at the time, but that Apatow called her later that night to discuss the incident. She claims that Franco received “barely a slap on the wrist,” blaming the so-called “boys club” on set.
Franco’s representatives had not responded to Page Six‘s inquiry at the time of publication.
[Feature image: Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP, File]