According to an extensive report in the Los Angeles Times, the list of women accusing actor James Franco is growing. He has now been accused of sexual misconduct by five women.
As the DML News reported on Monday, the actor who once said he was in a state of depression over President Donald J. Trump’s win in 2016, won a Golden Globe on Sunday night. Franco was wearing a “Time’s Up” pin at the time, which signifies support for the fight against sexual misconduct in Hollywood. His support for the movement was deemed hypocritical by women accusing him of being part of the problem.
The 39-year-old actor’s alleged past was thrust into the spotlight as an unverified Twitter account for actress Ally Sheedy posted comments about him, saying, “James Franco just won. Please never ever ask me why I left the film/tv business,” and “Why is a man hosting? Why is James Franco allowed in? Said too much.”
Also on Twitter, actress Violet Paley accused Franco of sexual misconduct, while filmmaker Sarah Tither-Kaplan posted a tweet about Franco making her the subject of a questionable nude scene.
As the times notes, what should have been “a pure moment of triumph for James Franco” turned into something else (Warning: details in this report may be offensive and explicit).
The LA Times reports:
It “was like a slap in my face,” said Sarah Tither-Kaplan, a former acting student at the film school Franco founded who went on to appear in several of his productions.
Tither-Kaplan is one of five women who, in interviews with The Times, accused Franco, 39, of behavior they found to be inappropriate or sexually exploitative.
Four were his students, and another said he was her mentor.
Tither-Kaplan said she felt Franco “abuse[d] his power” as some of the women believed Franco could offer them career advancement, and did as he asked for that reason.
She told The Times that in a nude orgy scene she filmed with Franco and several women three years ago, he removed protective plastic guards covering other actresses’ vaginas while simulating oral sex on them.
Two other student actresses also recounted negative on-set experiences. Both said Franco became angry when no women, while at the shoot, would agree to be topless.
According to Franco’s attorney, Michael Plonsker, all of the women’s allegations are being disputed.
He pointed to an interview Franco did Tuesday night on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert,” in which Franco addressed the allegations, saying that what he’s heard regarding the tweets is not accurate, but that he supports people voicing concerns “because they didn’t have a voice for so long.”
“I’m here to listen and learn and change my perspective where it’s off, and I’m completely willing and want to,” Franco told Colbert, later restating his support for the “Time’s Up” movement.
According to the LA Times:
Franco taught at Playhouse West in North Hollywood — a school where he’d received training as an actor.
Two of his former students there said he put female students in uncomfortable situations beyond the normal parameters of acting class.
Hilary Dusome, 33, who took a class from Franco in 2012, said that at first, she found him to be “a really generous spirit” eager to help aspiring actors.
Her feelings shifted after being selected to appear, with a handful of other female students, in what she thought was one of Franco’s “art films.” Natalie Chmiel, the other student, said she was told the footage would be used in a 7 For All Mankind jeans commercial.
Both women described what they considered to be an unprofessional and hostile shoot at a strip club.
Chmiel, 33, also recalled Franco asking the women if any of them wanted to take their top off, and that he was “visibly angry” when they declined.
Katie Ryan, who met Franco at Playhouse West and took several classes at [Franco’s Studio 4], said the actor “would always make everybody think there were possible roles on the table if we were to perform sexual acts or take off our shirts.”
She said that for years, she received mass email requests from Franco to audition for roles playing “a prostitute or a hooker.”
Violet Paley, 23, told The Times that when she met Franco in early 2016 she was eager to become a filmmaker and that he had been willing to give her notes on her script.
They had begun a romantic relationship when she said he pressured her into performing oral sex on him — an act she’d never done with him at that point — while sitting in her car.
She began to perform the sex act, but was uncomfortable. To extricate herself from the situation, she told Franco she spotted someone near the car.
Later, Paley said, she and Franco advanced their consensual sexual relationship. Today, she said she would have handled the encounter in the car differently, especially in the wake of the Weinstein scandal. “I would say, ‘No, stop, get out of my car,’” she said. “The power dynamic was really off.”