Busy Philipps was 20 when she was cast in her first major role as Kim Kelly on Freaks and Geeks.
The role would be the one that launched her TV and film career, as well as the careers of several of her co-stars, including Jason Segel, Linda Cardellini, Seth Rogan and James Franco.
But it would also be one where she learned a hard lesson about Hollywood.
In Philipps’ upcoming memoir, This Will Only Hurt a Little, to be released on October 18, she alleges that she was assaulted by James Franco on set.
In an excerpt of the book leaked by Radar Online, Philipps writes that she was filming a scene with Franco, when she was directed to gently hit him in the chest while delivering her line. When she did so, however, he suddenly broke character.
“He grabbed both my arms and screamed in my face, ‘DON’T EVER TOUCH ME AGAIN!’” she wrote. “And he threw me to the ground. Flat on my back. Wind knocked out of me.”
The directive had not been included in the script, and Philipps assumed Franco had been caught off guard. He angrily stormed off, and the crew gathered to help Philipps.
The now 39-year-old remembers crying to her co-star Linda Cardellini, who told her she needed to report the incident to her manager.
Franco, now 40, apologised to Philipps the following day, after being instructed to do so by the director and producers.
She writes in her memoir, however, that he continued to be a “f***ing bully” throughout their time on the show.
In January this year, while attending the Golden Globes, Franco wore a ‘Time’s Up’ pin on the left lapel of his suit – an act many criticised in light of his past behaviour.
In the wake of his demonstration, five women came out to publicly accuse him of sexual harassment and exploitation.
“I got it in my head pretty quickly that, okay, you don’t say ‘no’ to this guy,” aspiring actress and filmmaker Sarah Tither-Kaplan, 26, told the Los Angeles Times
She is a former acting student at the school Franco founded, Studio 4. She said during filming in Franco’s Sex Scenes class, she appeared topless and later discovered the video had been uploaded to the video-sharing platform Vimeo. From there, she discovered her image had been shared to porn sites.
“I feel there was an abuse of power, and there was a culture of exploiting non-celebrity women, and a culture of women being replaceable,” Tither-Kaplan told The Times.