James Franco Breaks Silence On Sexual Harassment Allegations

            First reported by The Los Angeles Times in 2018, actor James Franco was accused of sexually inappropriate behavior by 5 women, 4 of which were students of his acting school, School Playhouse West Studio 4. The school first opened in 2014 before closing in 2017.

Two of the women, Sarah Tither-Kaplan and Toni Gaal, claimed Franco and his business partners “engaged in widespread inappropriate and sexually charged behavior towards female students by sexualizing their power as a teacher and an employer by dangling the opportunity for roles in their projects.” Tither-Kaplan and Gaal settled their lawsuit, which they filed in 2019, with Franco this past summer. Reports state Franco paid a $2,235,000 settlement. As part of their deal, Tither-Kaplan and Gaal agreed to drop their individual claims.

This week, Franco did an interview with SiriusXM’s The Jess Cagle Podcast, where he openly admitted to having sex with his former students. He revealed that he had a sex addiction for years after becoming sober from alcohol in his 20s. Being sober prohibited Franco from realizing all the “insidious” harm he was causing others while “living a spiritual life” going to AA meetings and being a sponsor for others struggling with addiction. Franco said on the show that he was “completely blind to power dynamics or anything like that, but also completely blind to people’s feelings.”

Franco also discussed future possible projects with former friend and frequent collaborator, Seth Rogan. He revealed the two have nothing planned and apologized for not speaking directly about his allegations when they first arose. In 2018, Rogan said in an interview that he would no longer be working with Franco and condemned Franco’s actions. Of this, Franco stated, “He had to answer for me ‘cause I was silent. He had to answer for me, and I don’t want that. So that’s why, that’s one of the main reasons I wanted to talk to you today: I don’t want Seth or my brother or anyone to have to answer for me anymore.”


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