Johnathon Schaech Accuses Director Franco Zeffirelli of Molesting Him
Johnathon Schaech is sharing allegations against Italian director Franco Zeffirelli.
In an essay published on People, 48-year-old Schaech writes that the director, 94, harassed and sexually abused him during production of the ’90s film Sparrow, claims that Zeffirelli’s son Pippo denied to the publication, calling the allegations “not credible.”
Schaech was cast in the movie in 1992 and won the role after attending an open call and making it thought a number of auditions. After being cast in the role, the actor writes in the essay that he was flown to England to “work on the English dialect at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts.” During that time, Schaech alleges, “Franco would fly in and out to see what the progress was — and almost immediately he began trying to seduce me with words.”
The actor was 22 at the time and he writes that during the production of the movie, “Almost every day, Franco would say, ‘I need to be with you.’ We filmed all over Italy and at one point we were at a château, and he would come to my door, knock on my door late at night. But I kept it locked.”
Schaech also alleges that during the day, the director “would say things like ‘I’m coming up to see you tonight’ and I would say, ‘I’m not OK with that Franco, it’s not OK.’ He didn’t listen.”
Schaech says that one night while at a hotel and his co-star wasn’t present, Zeffirelli allegedly told Schaech he was coming to his 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 writes. “There was a moment where I was telling him ‘No’ and he told me, ‘We have to.'”
The actor went on to write, “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.”