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‘Mean Girls’ Actor Daniel Franzese Accuses Bijou Phillips of Homophobic and Physical Abuse on ‘Bully’ Set

"I was greeted at that door with homophobia, body shaming and abuse," Franzese writes about the making of his first movie.

Daniel Franzese27th Annual GLAAD Media Awards, Arrivals, Los Angeles, America - 02 Apr 2016

Daniel Franzese

Matt Baron/REX/Shutterstock

UPDATE (November 13): Bijou Phillips has issued the following apology to 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 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.”

Earlier: Daniel Franzese, best known for playing Damian Leigh in “Mean Girls,” has published a lengthy statement on his Facebook page in which he reveals he suffered homophobic and physical abuse from actress  Bijou Phillips during the production of Larry Clark’s “Bully.” According to Franzese, Phillips “body shamed” and “ridiculed” him about his sexuality and later physically assaulted him. “I was scared and closeted and feared for my job,” the actor writes.

Franzese says that during the cast shoot for the film poster, Phillips repeatedly asked him “Are you gay?” in front of the producers and photographers and did not stop even when asked to by actors Michael Pitt and Brad Renfro. The actor decided to out himself as bisexual because he did not yet identify as gay, and Phillips allegedly responded by laughing at him (“HA He’s bi!”) and later referring to him on set as the “bi guy.”

Later during production, Phillips allegedly body shamed the young actor after he filmed a scene where had to take his shirt off. “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!!!,'” Franzese explains. “She laughed and pointed at me and continued to berate me. They call cut and I had to walk off set to collect myself.”

The abuse allegedly turned physical when Franzese was asked to meet with Phillips in her makeup trailer after the body-shaming encounter. Instead of offering him a sincere apology, Franzese says Phillips grabbed his nipple and twisted it hard through his shirt, before laughing at him and walking away. “I stopped talking to her for the rest of filming,” the actor writes.  Franzese says Phillips’ abuse was not limited to him, as she also allegedly burned a costume designer with a lit cigarette and threw eggs at the costume trailer.

“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,” Franzese concludes. “The way I was treated in that hostile work environment gave me a PTSD that had me stay closeted for a long time.”

The actor said he was inspired to share his own story after Ellen Page posted an essay to her Facebook page revealing her history of harassment in the industry and being outed by director Brett Ratner on the set of “X-Men: The Last Stand.” You can read the actor’s full statement in the Facebook embed below.

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