More Women Accuse James Franco of "Inappropriate" and "Sexually Exploitative" Behaviour
Published Jan 11, 2018More women have come forward with allegations of sexual misconduct against James Franco. The L.A. Times has spoken to five women who have previously worked with Franco, with all claiming that his behaviour was "inappropriate" or "sexually exploitative."
Amongst the five women the Times spoke to is Sarah Tither-Kaplan, who called Franco out for exploitative behaviour during the Golden Globes earlier this week on Twitter. She was a former student at Franco's Studio 4 film school and appeared in a number of his productions.
She expanded on her previous allegations, claiming that Franco removed plastic guards on actresses' genitals while simulating oral sex on them during a nude orgy scene a few years ago. He allegedly continued to simulate the act without protection.
"James is all about giving up-and-comers, actors and actresses and young filmmakers a break in this business," Franco's lawyer Cynthia Huffman told the Times. "I feel horrible that anyone was made to feel uncomfortable, but we went to great lengths to make sure all the actresses in the nude scenes felt comfortable and safe."
Tither-Kaplan further claimed that a short film she uploaded to Vimeo and submitted for a Sex Scenes class later appeared on at least one pornography site.
"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," she told the Times.
Two other former female students of Franco's, Hilary Dusome and Natalie Chmiel, recounted another negative on-set experience. While filming scenes at a strip club — the former said she believed it was footage for an art film, while the latter said she was told it was a commercial shoot — Franco allegedly asked the women, "So, who wants to take your shirt off?" When no women volunteered, Franco reportedly angrily stormed away.
Franco's Studio 4 film school (which suddenly closed last fall) initially promised access to roles in Franco's projects, which was a draw for many of the students. One former student, Katie Ryan, however, claimed that many of the roles available to students were exploitative.
She told the Times 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." She also claimed that she would receive mass email requests from Franco inviting her to audition to play the roles of "a prostitute or a hooker."
A statement from Rabbit Bandini Productions, which ran the film school, maintained that "the school was always run professionally."
Violet Paley, who previously alleged that Franco forced her head towards his exposed penis while in a car, also spoke to the L.A. Times. She expanded on her experience with Franco, saying that "the power dynamic was really off."
Paley also revealed that she contacted him after the Harvey Weinstein scandal last year to express her "anger and sadness over his treatment of her" and he later spoke to her on the phone to make amends. Franco allegedly told her that it was wrong for him to have initiated a sexual relationship with someone recovering from substance abuse, but that he hadn't done "anything illegal."
Read the complete report here via the L.A. Times.
Franco appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert earlier this week, claiming that the allegations made on Twitter after the Golden Globes were "not accurate."