Culture

The Grim Reality Behind the Scenes of 'Fuller House' Is Anything but Wholesome

The show's creator, Jeff Franklin, has been accused of toxic behavior in the writers' room, from bragging about orgies to making racist comments.

by Drew Schwartz
13 June 2019, 5:20am

Photo of Franklin by Daniel Zuchnik/WireImage via Getty Images; still via Netflix

Fuller House is, on its surface, a model of pure, wholesome television: Netflix's reboot finds eldest daughter D.J. Tanner back in the same San Francisco home from the original, overcoming the death of her husband with help from her sister, her best friend, and the rest of her kin. Every episode has an uplifting message; they all cater to family-friendly watching, complete with some pithy moral about the importance of loyalty, respect, and kindness.

But the reality of what it was like to work on the show is reportedly much, much darker. According to the Hollywood Reporter, a Warner Bros. investigation found that the show's creator, Jeff Franklin, behaved inappropriately in the writers room, making women on staff deeply uncomfortable with out-of-line comments that were sexual, misogynistic, and flagrantly racist.

The allegations against Franklin were laid out in court testimony from Silisha Platon, Warner Bros.' vice president of labor relations, which was obtained by the Reporter. Among the worst of them:

One woman said Franklin would talk about orgies he had over the weekend. Another woman, supported by a third, claimed that Franklin had his assistant request that all the writers come to his mansion and were reminded multiple times to bring their bikinis. Franklin was also said to have complained about having to hire directors that were women or people of color, expressing preference for male writers, apologizing to his staff for not dating Jewish women, describing female directors as "all the same," and making sexualized comments.

Franklin hasn't commented on the accusations turned up by Warner Bros.' two-year investigation, during which they interviewed eight people who worked on Fuller House. But after he was dropped from the show back in 2018, he painted any allegations of misconduct against him as "fabricated or twisted," filing a lawsuit that claimed his co-executive producer, Bryan Behar, tried to oust him by dredging up accusations of inappropriate behavior.

According to Warner Bros., that's not true. In an interview with the studio for its investigation, Behar corroborated "some of the less serious" accusations made by female staffers, Platon said. The most egregious ones—like the time Franklin allegedly said he wished he "could make all the women on my staff get hysterectomies"—came straight from the accusers themselves.

The accusations against Franklin might be the most galling example of inappropriate conduct behind the scenes of his sitcoms, but they're not the only one. In a memoir, Bob Saget—who reprised his role from Full House for the new series—wrote about his own escapades doing whip-its on set, making crude jokes around the show's young actors, drawing penises on his co-stars' scripts, and pretending "to do stuff" (read: sexually) to a doll that served as a stand-in for Michelle, a toddler played by the Olsen twins.

Despite the allegations against Franklin, Netflix forged on ahead with a fourth season of Fuller House, with Behar and Steve Baldikoski as its new showrunners. It still plans on doing a fifth and final one—only this time without Lori Loughlin. It looks like "Aunt Becky" won't be coming back to the show after getting caught up in the college admissions cheating scandal, accused of crimes that could land her with up to 20 years in prison.

While the world behind the scenes of Fuller House grows increasingly grim, the show itself is only looking brighter. Stephanie is a mother now, engaged to her longtime love interest; D.J. and her high-school sweetheart are growing ever closer, and signs point to marriage. The final season should be a nice, wholesome conclusion to a show that, for those who actually made it, was anything but.

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This article originally appeared on VICE US.