Five women have come forward with accusations against James Franco of exploitative behaviour on set and sexual misconduct.
In a new story in the Los Angeles Times several women describe the 39-year-old actor and director abusing his power in inappropriate and sexually exploitative ways.
Franco won Best Actor in a Comedy at the Golden Globes Sunday and accepted the award wearing a Time’s Up pin.
Sarah Tither-Kaplan, who studied at the acting school Franco founded and later appeared in a number of his films, tweeted during the awards ceremony about her experience having to appear nude in the films.
“I feel there was an abuse of power, and there was a culture of exploiting non-celebrity women, and a culture of women being replaceable,” Tither-Kaplan told the L.A. Times, explaining that on more than one occasion Franco had the actresses do nude scenes that had not been scripted.
The actress also said Franco removed the plastic protective guards covering actresses’ vaginas while simulating oral sex on them during an orgy scene in one film. “I got it in my head pretty quickly that, Okay, you don’t say ‘no’ to this guy,” she added.
Another actress who spoke to the L.A. Times reportedly confirmed Tither-Kaplan’s account, though an attorney for Franco said, “the allegations about the protective guards are not accurate.”
Tither-Kaplan did reveal, however, that once the Weinstein scandal was broken last year, Franco apologized to her for making her uncomfortable on set.
“I want to give him credit for at least being open to communicating with me,” she said. “I felt that he was still not really taking accountability for the environment on the sets.”
Another woman, Violet Paley, told the L.A. Times that in 2016 Franco had pressured her into performing oral sex on him while in her car. The two were in a relationship at that point, but the 23-year-old said she had not performed that act on him at that point in their relationship.
“I was talking to him, all of a sudden his penis was out,” Paley said. “I got really nervous, and I said, ‘Can we do this later?’ He was kind of nudging my head down, and I just didn’t want him to hate me, so I did it.”
Paley said that after the Weinstein scandal broke she contacted Franco by email to express her anger. Though he did not respond to the email, she said they later spoke by phone and he attempted to make amends while also telling her he had not done “anything illegal” and adding that he was “a changed man.”
As the Times’ story emerged Thursday, “The Deuce” creator David Simon released a statement to say he “has no complaint or any awareness of any incident of concern involving Mr. Franco.” Franco plays Frankie Martino in the HBO drama series.
See the full statement below:
In an appearance Tuesday on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert”, Franco addressed allegations of misconduct against him, telling the host, “Look, in my life I pride myself on taking responsibility for things that I have done.”
“I have to do that to maintain my well being,” he continued. “The things that I heard that were on Twitter are not accurate. But I completely support people coming out and being able to have a voice because they didn’t have a voice for so long. So I don’t want to shut them down in any way.”
“If I have done something wrong,” Franco added. “I will fix it — I have to.”