Mean Girls' Daniel Franzese Opens Up About Being Harassed For His Sexuality On A Movie Set

Photo: Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic.
In this reckoning currently rippling through Hollywood and beyond, women aren't the only survivors coming forward with stories. In addition to the men accusing other men of sexual harassment, Mean Girls actor Damien Franzese says he had a traumatic experience with actress Bijou Phillips that deserves its own kind of scrutiny. While working on his first film, Bully, in 2001, Franzese says he was harassed by Phillips "the entire shoot."
"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 wrote on Facebook over the weekend. "The way I was treated in that hostile work environment gave me a PTSD that had me stay closeted for a long time."
Some of Phillips' alleged behavior includes loudly asking if Franzese was gay, and, after he told her he was bi ("which at the time was how I was choosing to‪ ‬identify as ‘Q’ wasn’t known to be an option yet"), she would scream "Oh look! The Bi guy is here!" when he showed up to work.
"I was playing straight in the film and in life and so fearful of my job because it was my first movie," he explained.
He says her harassment wasn't limited to his sexuality — she allegedly also poked fun at his weight.
"I take my shirt off in [a] scene and she breaks character and she pointed at my body and at the top of her lungs yelled 'Ewwww gross!!!'" he remembered. "She laughed and pointed at me and continued to berate me. They call cut and I had to walk off set to collect myself."
There were other instances as well, like when he says she kicked him in the back of his head, possibly giving him a concussion. In response, Phillips told TMZ that she "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."
She added that she was "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."
On Twitter late Sunday night, Franzese announced that he accepted Phillips' apology.
"I forgive @BijouPhillips because I don’t know her private story either," he wrote. "I shared this story only to bring light to a dark memory."
However, he added that he would like to see her make a donation to The Trevor Project or a similar organization.
Refinery29 has reached out to both Franzese and Phillip for comment. Read Franzese's full Facebook post below:

More from Movies


R29 Original Series

Watch Now
A look at the subcultures around the world that colour what we wear — and why.
Watch Now
Explore the world's most vibrant cultural and culinary centres—in 60 seconds, of course.
Watch Now
The craziest trends, most unique treatments, and strangest subcultures in the beauty world.
Watch Now
Millennial survivor-woman Lucie Fink dives headfirst into social experiments, 5 days at a time.