Actor Daniel Franzese took to Facebook to share a story about how actor-singer Bijou Phillips harassed him on the set of the 2001 film Bully. In a lengthy post, Franzese said that Phillips body shamed him, ridiculed him for his sexuality, and physically assaulted him.
Franzese’s story comes shortly after Ellen Page’s recent post about how she was treated by Brett Ratner on the set X-Men: The Last Stand. The Mean Girls actor mentioned that he was inspired by Page’s story and wanted to tell his story. “I have told this story to magazines, TV shows and Q&A’s but I feel like it is always cut out of the article or has never really been heard,” he said in the post. “I love the movie and my other cast mates and crew but Bully was one of the most stressful experiences of my life on or off a set and it was my first one.”
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During the filming of the Larry Clarke-directed Bully, which was ironically about a bully who terrorized a group of friends, Franzese said that Phillips constantly ridiculed him. Because it was his first film, he was scared, closeted and scared of losing his job. While shooting for the poster, she kept asking him loudly if he was gay and when he responded that he was bisexual, she laughed and called him “the bi guy” when he would come on set.
One of the scenes in the movie required Franseze to take his shirt off. “It was an extremely vulnerable moment for me because I was not at all the type of guy comfortable with taking my clothes off in front of anyone at that point in my life,” said Franzese. “I was the chubby kid who wore his shirt in the pool.”
When he took his shirt off, she pointed at him, laughed and yelled, “Ewww gross!” His co-star, the late Brad Renfro, consoled him and supported him during the film. Even so, he says that showing your body when you don’t want to and getting ridiculed is one the worst things that can happen. Franzese goes into more detail on how Phillips continue harassed him throughout the filming and even kicking him in the back of the head at one point.
Since then, he has run into Phillips and “tolerated her obligatory greetings.” He adds, “She’s married, a mom and a Scientologist now so maybe she is a different person.”
“It was such a blessing to get a foot into Hollywood’s door but I was greeted at that door with homophobia, body-shaming, and abuse,” he said. “The way I was treated in that hostile work environment gave me a PTSD that had me stay closeted for a long time.”
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