James Franco has found one surprising supporter amid sexual misconduct allegations: Ashley Judd, who said his reaction to the claims was “terrific.”
As previously reported, five women came forward to accuse Franco of inappropriate or sexually exploitative behavior. The Los Angeles Times published the details of the alleged encounters on Thursday, January 11, just days after the Golden Globe winner denied previous claims of sexual misconduct. The Deuce star’s attorney Michael Plonsker disputed all of the allegations and directed the Times to the comments that Franco made on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert on Tuesday, January 9.
During the interview, the Why Him? actor said the claims that were made by several women on Twitter after his Golden Globes win were “not accurate.” He added, “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.”
Franco also addressed the previous misconduct claims on Late Night With Seth Meyers on Wednesday, January 10, just hours before the Times’ article was published. “I have my own side of this story, but I believe in these people that have been underrepresented getting their stories out enough that I will hold back things that I could say just because I believe in that much,” he said. “If I have to take a knock because I’m not going to try and actively refute things, then I will, because I believe in it that much.”
While speaking with HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur, Judd, 49, praised Franco’s response and said, “I think that what James said is terrific. I think that we’ve all behaved, at a certain level, unconsciously, and done things that were insensitive, inappropriate, without necessarily understanding that they were. I mean, we’ve all operated with a certain amount of tone deafness, and I like the culpability, and we have to have restorative justice.”
“This is about men and women being all together and having a more equitable and just workplace, home life, social spaces. I mean, we know that when women are empowered in the workplace and are in decision-making positions that workplaces have better financial outcomes and there’s less harassment when there is more diversity,” the Kiss the Girls star continued, before adding, “And it takes that kind of individual accountability to collectively make the change on a large scale.”
Judd famously spoke out against Harvey Weinstein in November 2017, where she detailed her alleged experience with decades of sexual harassment by the disgraced Hollywood producer. In light of the controversy, more than 80 women, including actresses Angelina Jolie and Rose McGowan, have come forward to accuse Weinstein of sexual harassment or assault. He is currently under criminal investigation by the New York Police Department, Los Angeles Police Department, Beverly Hills Police Department, London’s Metropolitan Police Service and Scotland Yard.
Judd also attended the 2018 Golden Globes with Salma Hayek, another Hollywood actress who has accused Weinstein of sexual harassment. Both women wore black to the event, a nod towards the #MeToo movement and Times Up initiative, which helps provide legal aid for victims of sexual assault, harassment and inequality in the workplace.
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