Daniel Franzese claims he has been personally victimized by Bijou Phillips.
The actor, best known for playing Damian in Mean Girls, has accused the actress-singer of body shaming him and making fun of his sexuality on the set of their film Bully.
Inspired by Ellen Page accusing Brett Ratner of homophobic behavior on the set of X-Men: The Last Stand, Franzese called out Phillips for harassing him during “the entire shoot” of the 2001 thriller.
In a lengthy Facebook post, he shared:
“I was scared and closeted and feared for my job. It started with a lot of eye├óΓé¼┬¬ rolling whenever we spoke but├óΓé¼┬¬ escalated when we did a cast shoot for the poster├óΓé¼┬¬. ├óΓé¼┬¬As we were shooting she kept loudly saying ‘Are you gay?!’ and laughing├óΓé¼┬¬ while the producers├óΓé¼┬¬ and photographer did nothing├óΓé¼┬¬ to stop her.”
Franzese added that some fellow cast members like Michael Pitt and the late Brad Renfro “kept telling her to shut up,” but that didn’t stop the alleged bullying.
“[S]he continued to say ‘Are You Gay?!’ Like 10 times making sure to be loud enough for everyone to hear I reluctantly told her i was bi. Which at the time was how I was choosing to├óΓé¼┬¬ identify as ‘Q’ wasn’t known to be an option yet and to be honest I don’t know that I had many gay experiences at the time my life. I was an extremely late bloomer. She cackled and├óΓé¼┬¬ said ‘HA! He’s bi!’ And then when I showed up to work the next day in front of the crew she was screaming ‘Oh look! The Bi guy is here!'”
Franzese added that while filming a scene that required him to take his shirt off, Phillips broke character at the sight of his torso, pointed at him and “at the top of her lungs yelled ‘Ewwww gross!!!'”
Thankfully, not every actor filming Bully was a bully IRL. Franzese noted that Renfro tried to comfort him afterwards and later yelled “Someone give me a real actress!” as Phillips allegedly continued her taunting.
Phillips somewhat came to her senses, Franzese claimed, when Bully costar Nick Stahl, whom she was dating at the time, had a long talk with her and convinced her to apologize. When she did apologize, Franzese noted it didn’t feel sincere — and came with a pinch of assault:
“Later she pulled me aside and said ‘I’m sorry if I offended you. You actually remind me of someone.’ She said Carnie Wilson who is in her sister’s band Wilson Phillips at the time was well (sic) known for her weight issues in the media. It was meant to be a insult. She then grabbed my nipple and twisted it hard through my shirt and laughed and walked away. I stopped talking to her for the rest of filming.”
The bullying didn’t end there, apparently. During a later scene while she was sitting behind the Looking actor, she “kept rubbing her dirty feet on my neck. I kept swiveling the chair to move away from her and she kicked me as hard as she could in the back of the head. To this day I’m not even sure if she gave me a concussion because I was light headed and dizzy for a while.”
Hoping that Phillips might be “a different person” today, Franzese explained he’s since seen the actress on multiple occasions “and tolerated our obligatory greetings,” but notes the experience has resulted in “a PTSD that had me stay closeted for a long time.”
So, what does the Regina George have to say about all this? She totally doesn’t remember and feels super bad about it!
“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 behavior. 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. I am so mortified by this behavior and have contacted Daniel and apologized to him privately. I am not and never have been homophobic. I have nothing but love for the LGBTQ community and Daniel.”
It’s nice she apologized, but saying she’s “never” been homophobic completely invalidates the power of her accuser. Just admit you were the worst, girl!
Despite sharing his story to multiple reporters and TV anchors, the actor feels his experience has “never really been heard.” Hopefully now’s the time we start listening.
[Image via FayesVision/Brian To/WENN.]