Ray Donovan star Johnathon Schaech has alleged legendary Italian director Franco Zeffirelli sexually harassed him on the set of his 1993 movie Sparrow
Schaech, 48, who was 22 when he landed his first movie role as the male lead in the religious drama, claims Zeffirelli, 94, drunkenly entered his hotel room in Sicily, Italy, where the movie was being filmed, “molested” him and attempted to perform oral sex. Zeffirelli’s son has denied the allegations.
In an article published on People.com, the actor wrote, “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. I was in bed sleeping and he let himself into the bedroom and he got beside my bed and was over the top of me on the side of the bed as I awoke.”
Schaech added, “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.”
The star, who has had two previous marriages, to the actress Christina Applegate and singer Jana Kramer, explained that he had “shut down” for 25 years over the incident and that it had caused him to develop “major alcohol and drug problems, sexual addictions”.
He explained that he had decided to come forward now after speaking to Rose McGowan, his co-star in the 1995 movie The Doom Generation, who was one of the first women to go public with sexual abuse allegations against the movie mogul Harvey Weinstein. The publicity around the Weinstein case emboldened women in the entertainment industry and beyond to speak out about harassment and abuse.
In a statement to People, Zeffirelli’s son denied the claims, writing, “My father is in poor health and not able to understand this attack and to respond to the allegations made by Jonathan Schaech (sic). This would be an attack to a great director, an artist and to a man at the end of his life that he is not able, nor he will be in the future able to respond. This will be an incredible damage to his image and reputation on the basis of allegations which are not credible and cannot be proved.”