James Franco is getting some support from an unlikely source — Ashley Judd is praising his response to allegations of sexual misconduct.
Franco skipped the Critics' Choice Awards Sunday — at which he won Best Actor for "The Disaster Artist" — in the wake of an L.A. Times story in which five women accused him of sexually inappropriate behavior. He had addressed the article in an interview with Seth Meyers, saying his side of the story was different, but that he believes in "these people that have been underrepresented getting their stories out enough that I will hold back things that I could say."
In response to criticism that he wore a Time's Up pin to the Golden Globes, where he also won an award for "The Disaster Artist," Franco told Meyers, “There are people — women and others — who have not been a part of this conversation, and I truly believe, and why I was wearing the pin, is that they need to be a part of this conversation, and so I support that."
Us Weekly reports Ashley Judd, one of Harvey Weinstein's accusers, is throwing Franco a lifeline at a time when TMZ says Franco has been "extremely upset" over the allegations and is "in a bad place."
In a new interview with HARDtalk's Stephen Sackur, Judd praised Franco, saying, “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.”
She went on to say, “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, and it takes that kind of individual accountability to collectively make the change on a large scale.”
Franco's lawyer Michael Plonsker has disputed all of the allegations against his client. Weinstein's spokeswoman, Sallie Hofmeister, told The New York Times in a statement, “Any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein. Mr. Weinstein has further confirmed that there were never any acts of retaliation against any women for refusing his advances. He will not be available for further comments, as he is taking the time to focus on his family, on getting counseling and rebuilding his life.”