Busy Philipps has said she will not work with Freaks and Geeks co-star James Franco again in light of allegations of sexual misconduct.
Franco was accused by five women in 2018 of sexual misconduct – claims that he has denied repeatedly. He settled a lawsuit in February 2021 with two accusers who were former students at now-defunct acting school Studio 4.
Philipps’ latest comments come in the wake of fellow co-star Seth Rogen saying he had no plans to work with Franco again, the actress responding on The Daily Beast‘s The Last Laugh podcast: “I have to say, I mean, it’s interesting.
“They were super close and they had a very tight relationship. And so I don’t have any information. I mean, I’m going to say something now, whatever – Seth is married to a very fucking smart woman.”
The actress previously claimed in her 2018 memoir This Will Only Hurt a Little that Franco physically assaulted her on the set of Freaks and Geeks, allegedly grabbing her and screaming in her face.
She said that when her co-star Linda Cardellini advised her to report it, she didn’t, and Franco apologised to her the following day after reportedly being forced to do so by the show’s producers and director. She claimed that Franco was never formally reprimanded for his behaviour.
Speaking further to The Hollywood Reporter in 2018 about the incident, she alleged: “James and I have talked about it over the years. At one point he apologized to me. I was always acutely aware of my expendability, and so I felt I needed to never complain, always show up on time and not be difficult. If someone else was being difficult, it was my job to be the easy one or figure out a way to soothe the situation.”
In the Last Laugh interview, Phillips went on to admit that she was “surprised” by Rogen’s decision, adding: “Although, to be honest with you, I haven’t spent my days doing deep dives into what it all was. I didn’t work with James past age 20, so I can only speak to the horrible behavior I experienced.”
She continued: “I can’t speculate on their friendship, but I wouldn’t want to work with someone who has multiple allegations of predatory behavior. So, in fact, I won’t.”
The star also reflected on how Hollywood had changed since the emergence of the #MeToo movement, saying: “I think at this point, I’m not at risk. I’m an almost 42-year-old woman who wrote a book where I named names of the people who were fucking dicks to me.
“So I don’t think that I’m the person to ask about whether the industry has changed. Because I would assume that people are going to be smart enough to not fuck with me.”
Phillips added: “But also I’m not an ingenue coming onto the scene, or a young woman coming onto the scene wanting to work and make it happen. The predators, I’m sure, still exist, and a few of the big ones have been rooted out, thank god, but whether there’s a reckoning, I don’t know.”
NME has reached out to Franco’s representatives for comment on Phillips’ latest interview.