Five women have come forward to accuse James 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.
Sarah Tither-Kaplan, a former acting student at Franco’s film school Studio 4 in Hollywood, told the newspaper that the 39-year-old actor asked her to play a prostitute in his yet-to-be-released film The Long Home. One day on set in May 2015, she and several other women filmed a scene in which they participated in an orgy with Franco’s character. She claimed he removed a clear plastic guard that covered the other women’s vaginas and simulated oral sex without protection. She was not one of the women, but appeared fully nude in the background of the scene.
“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,” Tither-Kaplan, 26, told the Times.
Two other students at the Disaster Artist actor’s school claimed he would get angry when no women on set would agree to be topless.
A fourth woman, aspiring filmmaker Violet Paley, met Franco in early 2016. They became involved in a consensual romantic relationship, but one day he allegedly pressured her into performing oral sex on him while sitting in her car. “I was talking to him, all of a sudden his penis was out,” the 23-year-old alleged to the paper. “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.”
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 actor said the claims that were made by several women on Twitter after his Golden Globes win over the weekend 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 further 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.”