Another day, another actor being accused of sexually inappropriate behavior. In this case it’s James Franco, who is also being accused of sexually exploiting women who were in a class he was teaching on sex scenes:
ROLLING STONE – Multiple women have accused James Franco of “inappropriate or sexually exploitative” behavior in an article published by The Los Angeles Times on Thursday.
The alleged misconduct took place primarily when Franco was an acting teacher at Playhouse West in North Hollywood and at a now-closed film school he founded, Studio 4. At Studio 4, he taught a class titled “Sex Scenes,” and students allege that he pressured them to perform scenes partially nude or acted inappropriately while filming sexual encounters.
In addition to these allegations, actress Violet Paley claimed that Franco forced her to perform oral sex on him while they were in a car together in 2016. Paley tweeted about the alleged incident during the Golden Globes on Sunday night when where Franco picked up an award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy. The actress Ally Sheedy also tweeted, “James Franco just won. Please never ever ask me why I left the film/tv business.” She later deleted the tweet.
Not only is Franco’s attorney denying these allegations, but so is the co-owner of his school in which he was teaching:
Michael Plonsker, Franco’s attorney, said the allegations were “not accurate” and referred The Los Angeles Times to comments Franco made during a recent visit to the The Late Show. ” I pride myself on taking responsibility for things that I’ve done,” the actor told Stephen Colbert on Tuesday. “The things that I heard that were on Twitter are not accurate, but I completely support people coming out … So if I’ve done something wrong, I will fix it. I have to.”
Vince Jolivette, who co-owns Franco’s production company Rabbit Bandini Productions, also disputed the allegations through a statement. “[Studio 4] was always run professionally,” he said, adding that the alleged behavior was “very inconsistent with the mission” of the school.
Here’s the details of the complaints from the school:
Student accounts differ. “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,” Sarah Tither-Kaplan told The Los Angeles Times. She alleged that Franco “removed protective plastic guards covering other actresses’ vaginas while simulating oral sex” during filming for an orgy scene.
Hilary Dusome and Natalie Chmiel, also students, claimed Franco pressured actresses to film a scene topless, while Devyn LaBella said that the actor’s film company, Rabbit Bandini Productions, would promise to hold parts in Franco’s films projects for Studio 4 students – “parts that required nudity.” Katie Ryan, another Studio 4 student, added that Franco “would always make everybody think there were possible roles on the table if we were to perform sexual acts or take off our shirts.”
“I don’t think [Franco] started teaching with bad intentions,” Dusome said, “but he went down a bad path and damaged a lot of people in the process.”
And here’s more on Violet Paley’s complaint:
Paley was not a student of Franco’s, but she says she met him when he agreed to give her notes on a script. They allegedly started a romantic relationship, but Paley said “the power dynamic [in the relationship] was really off.” Franco later allegedly pressured her into performing oral sex on him. “I was talking to him, all of a sudden his penis was out,” Paley told The Los Angeles Times. “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.”
Now these accusations weren’t written up until today, but because of Paley and Sheedy’s tweets during the Golden Globes, Franco was asked about them by Colbert. Here’s how Franco defended himself:
Notice he only addressed Sheedy’s deleted tweet directly, and I think that’s because it was so vague and had no direct accusation. But he never addressed Paley’s tweets specifically, only saying that the other things he heard on twitter were not accurate. And then of course he talked about how if he’s done something wrong, the has to fix it for his own well-being.
His comments on this sound a bit shady to me, meaning I think there’s probably something to these accusations.