Days after his Golden Globe win, James Franco has been accused of inappropriate or sexually exploitative behavior.
At the Golden Globes, Franco wore a Time's Up pin in support of the fight against sexual harassment. In response to his win, “The Breakfast Club” actress Ally Sheedy, who worked with Franco in 2014, wrote in a now-deleted tweet, “Why is a man hosting? Why is James Franco allowed in? Said too much. Nite love ya.”
She added, “James Franco just won. Please never ask me why I left the film/tv business."
Her tweets were just some of the social media backlash that Franco faced. Sarah Tither-Kaplan claimed on Twitter, “Hey James Franco, nice #timesup pin at the #GoldenGlobes, remember a few weeks ago when you told me the full nudity you had me do in two of your movies for $100/day wasn't exploitative because I signed a contract to do it? Times up on that!”
On Tuesday, Franco made an appearance on "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert," where he denied the sexual misconduct allegations, saying, “There were some things on Twitter. I haven’t read them. I’ve heard about them… In my life, I pride myself on taking responsibility for what I’ve done. The things I heard are not accurate, but I completely support people coming out because they didn’t have a voice for so long. I don’t want to shut them down in any way. I think it's a good thing and I support it."
“I can’t live if there’s restitution to be made," he continued. "If I’ve done something wrong, I will fix it. I have to. I don’t know what else to do. As far as the bigger issue of how we do it, I really don’t have the answers. I think the point of this whole thing is that we listen. I’m here to listen and learn and change my perspective where it’s off. I’m completely willing and want to.” Watch.
As for Sheedy’s comments, Franco said, “I have no idea what I did to Ally Sheedy. I have total respect for her. She took the tweet down. I can’t speak for her."
The following night, James took on the allegations on “Late Night with Seth Meyers,” saying, “There are people that need to be heard. I have my own side of this story, but I believe in, you know, 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 it that much, and 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."
The interview with Seth Meyers came just one day before The L.A. Times published an exposé on Franco, accusing him of inappropriate or sexually exploitative behavior. Five women were interviewed about their negative experiences with Franco.
Of the five women speaking out against Franco, four of them were his former students at his film school he founded, including Tither-Kaplan. The 26-year-old said, “I got it in my head pretty quickly that, 'Okay, you don’t say no to this guy.' 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.”
In response, Franco’s business partner Vince Jolivette told Us Weekly, “As an owner of Rabbit Bandini Productions, the company that ran Studio 4, the school was always run professionally. 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.”
Two other students also claimed that Franco became angry after no one agreed to go topless for a shoot. Hilary Dusome, who took one of his classes in 2012, recalled a similar story, adding, “I don't think he started teaching with bad intentions, but he went down a bad path and damaged a lot of people in the process."
Actress Violet Paley accused Franco of exposing himself and pressuring her into performing oral sex while they were in a consensual relationship.
Franco’s attorney Michael Plonsker disputed all the allegations made in the L.A. Times piece.
In 2014, Franco sparked controversy after flirting with a 17-year-old girl on Instagram. On “Live with Kelly and Michael,” Franco said, “I’m embarrassed, and I guess I’m just a model of how social media is tricky. I used bad judgment and I learned my lesson.”