After the news of Danny Masterson facing rape charges broke last month, stories citing his wife, actress Bijou Phillips, and her alleged history of harassment on set have come back into the spotlight. Most notable was an account from Daniel Franzese (best known for playing Damien in Mean Girls) who told Out Magazine in 2017 that the actress verbally and sexually assaulted him while working together on the ironically-titled 2001 film, Bully.
Now it seems that she may have been fired by director Cameron Crowe while working on his 2000 film, Almost Famous. Phillips played Estrella, one of the “Band-Aids”, in the flick, which was also written by Crowe and a semi-autobiographical account of his life.
To celebrate the 20th anniversary of Almost Famous, the cast and crew appeared on Jim Miller’s Origins podcast to recount their time making the iconic film, and Crowe briefly mentions having to “remove” an actor from the project after they made Patrick Fugit (the film’s 15-year old star) a “target” of sexual harassment. Around the 19-minute mark of episode 4 of the 5-episode series, Crowe tells Miller, “I wanted to look out for Patrick. There was an actor who had targeted Patrick for sexual hijinks, and we removed the actor. I did.”
In a recent interview with Vulture, Fugit speaks to his time working with Phillips. He told the outlet, ” Bijou Phillips was hell-bent on corrupting me. She would call me up at my apartment — this is before cell phones, so she got ahold of my apartment number. I either had my mom or my dad with me during the filming, and at this time, my mom was there. And the phone rang, and my mom picks it up and is like, “Oh, hi, Bijou.” Mom knew what Bijou was fucking up to.””
He continues on, saying, “So she hands me the phone and I get out [of the room] and Bijou is like, “Hey, what are you doing?” I was like, “I just finished my homework, getting my lines ready for tomorrow.” And she’s like, “Uh, that’s boring. A couple of us are going to go out. Do you want to come?” I was like, “Where are you guys going? Hold on, I gotta ask my mom.” I said, “Mom, Bijou and a couple people are going out. Can I go?” And I didn’t really want to go, but I thought, My mom will say no for me. Mom was like, “Ask Bijou where they’re going.” So I said, “My mom wants to know where we’re going.” Bijou was like, “We’re going out for ice cream.” My mom laughed and was like, “No, tell her you’ll see her at set tomorrow.””
Being that it was also discussed in the podcast that the film was shot in sequential order, it would make sense that Phillips is the aforementioned and unnamed actor who was removed, as she only appears in the first quarter of the film and is briefly mentioned towards the middle. Phillips eventually released an apology to Franzese for her behavior on the set of Bully, telling TMZ, “I don’t remember that time well, those years are a blur. I was a teenager and reckless in my behavior.” Since it is not publicly confirmed that she was in fact the actor who targeted Fugit 20 years ago, it is unknown whether a similar apology has been made.