“As an owner of Rabbit Bandini Productions, the company that ran Studio 4, the school was always run professionally,” Franco’s business partner Vince Jolivette tells Us Weekly. “Our instructors were excellent, student feedback was positive and this recent tweet from a former student is very inconsistent with the mission of the school, and we are investigating this matter.”
In a Los Angeles Times report published on Thursday, January 11, five women accused the Disaster Artist actor of inappropriate or sexually exploitative behavior. Four of the women were previously students at his Studio 4 film school in Hollywood. Sarah Tither-Kaplan claimed Franco removed safety guards while filming an oral sex scene on the set of the yet-to-be-released indie film The Long Home in 2015. Meanwhile, Violet Paley told the newspaper that Franco allegedly pressured her into performing oral sex on him while they were in a romantic relationship.
The Deuce star’s attorney Michael Plonsker disputed all of the allegations, while Franco said on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert that the first round of claims, which were made by multiple women on Twitter during the Golden Globes, were “not accurate.” Still, he added, “I completely support people coming out and being able to have a voice.”
The Long Home casting director Cynthia Huffman also responded to the news. “I feel so bad that Sarah feels the way she does. She is part of our camp!” she tells Us. “All actresses were aware of the nudity scenes ahead of time. I personally checked on all the actresses constantly to make sure they were OK and comfortable. I talked to them several times and told them if they were uncomfortable or did not like what was going on to come to me immediately and I would take care of it. I did not receive any complaints.”
Huffman adds, “James is all about giving up-and-comers, actors and actresses and young filmmakers a break in this business. 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. We are all about making movies and having fun on set!”
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