Palo Alto High is removing a James Franco mural and other works of art donated by the actor in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations against him.
According to a statement from Interim Superintendent Karen Hendricks, the school has already removed two murals and is in the process of riding the halls of other work by the “Disaster Artist” director and star.
“The decision to remove the mural, and now artwork, was not made lightly but we will always prioritize the physical and emotional well-being of our students over any other concerns,” Hendricks said in a statement posted to the school district’s website on Thursday. “District staff recently considered the best interests of our students in the light of our educational mission, and decided to remove and return the remaining artwork,” she said explaining one mural was already removed in 2016 due to construction and added the second mural was “taken down last week.”
Hendricks does not address the allegations against the actor, which Franco has denied. Instead she acknowledges his art donations were not meant to be permanent fixtures.
“The school site and district appreciated his donation, acknowledging that the artwork was intended to be temporary in nature and would be respectfully returned or painted over at some point.” She continues: “Remaining Franco artwork in our MAC are also now being transitioned as we work with students on their concepts of visual arts on campus to update and provide opportunities for other artistic pieces.”
Palo Alto High Principal Kim Diorio reiterated to the school’s newspaper that Franco’s misconduct has not been proven.
“These are still allegations,” Diorio told the Paly Voice. “I can’t even say [the decision to replace the mural] is based on fact because he’s denied those allegations and hasn’t been charged with a crime.”
Franco was first accused of sexual misconduct during the Golden Globes last month after winning the Best Actor In A Comedy award for “The Disaster Artist”. He later denied the allegations, telling Stephen Colbert he supports those speaking out about sexual harassment.
“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 said. “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.”