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Actor Johnathon Schaech Accuses Director Franco Zeffirelli of Molesting Him While Filming 'Sparrow'

Actor Johnathon Schaech Accuses Director Franco Zeffirelli of Molesting Him While Filming 'Sparrow'

Actor Johnathon Schaech, who has been seen on TV shows Ray Donovan, Legends of Tomorrow, Quantico, and more, has alleged that he was sexually assaulted by director Franco Zeffirelli, now 94, while making their 1993 film Sparrow.

The 48-year-old actor was just 22 when he was cast in the film, and he wrote in an expose that from the start of the shoot, he was allegedly pursued by the famous director. Johnathon wrote that he would barricade the door to his room nightly to keep him away.

“[Then], one night, I think it was when we were at a hotel in Sicily and my costar wasn’t there, he told me he was coming to my room. This time he had managed to get a key…There was a moment where I was telling him “No” and he told me, “We have to.” I remember his breath smelling of Scotch. And this is the whole thing, and you hear it from the women who are opening up now about their own experiences with abuse: There’s a moment where, even though you are taught to be charming and have sex appeal as an actor, a line is crossed and everything changes. When someone crosses that line, when someone preys on you, there’s a panic that sets in. That’s what Franco did. He crossed that boundary and I felt as though I left my body. He molested me in my bed. He put his hands in places that I couldn’t even imagine and he did things that I am not proud of. But it’s not my fault. His pants never came off but I can [still] see him fumbling with his belt. He attempted to give me oral sex. I just remember being like, ‘God, please no. I’m OK, I’m OK.’ I did nothing. I just lay there in bed. It felt like 4 hours but it was probably like 30 seconds,” Johnathon wrote in a People essay. “I was vulnerable. I didn’t scream and yell. I didn’t physically stop him, and it took me 25 years to answer the question why not. There’s a moment when someone is being violated by a predator where it is a clear form of violence that creates trauma in the body. We have a fight or flight response. People say they ‘leave their bodies’ and that’s what I did. When it was obvious Franco wasn’t getting what he wanted that night, he just left. He never tried to touch me again. I told him not to come near me again. He never said anything about it. For the predator who crosses the line they think that it’s OK.”

Johnathon sadly spoke about how his life was affected with “major alcohol and drug problems, sexual addictions.” Johnathon also credited Rose McGowan for helping him realize that this has happened to other people. Franco‘s son Pippo has denied the allegations against his father.

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Photos: Getty
Posted to: Franco Zeffirelli, Johnathon Schaech

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  • moody

    *rolls eyes

  • sheigh

    God…damn…

  • Kat

    Brave man !

  • Robert

    Wow…

  • wearing

    I’m so glad he explained this. I think some people (like @moody) will never understand until it happens to them. then it will be too late, you’ve already spread your vile judgement to people who didn’t need to hear your sh-t.

  • rubie

    I BELIEVE YOU……TIMESUP is for all Man Kind, not just for women……Your so BRAVE! God bless and Heal now.

  • Maria M.

    Why didn’t he tell him to fuck off? If someone is pursuing you and you are not interested and it makes you feel uncomfortable you need to tell them to fuck off! In those words. No need to patronize them. If that gets you fired so be it. I would never put my career over my body. This guy had every opportunity to send this director to hell from the start, the moment he expressed sexual interest in him but he didn’t want to offend him or antagonize him. He made a choice, a wrong choice.