James Franco’s best actor Golden Globe award sparked an outcry from several women who have since accused the actor of “inappropriate or sexually exploitative” behavior.
Franco has denied allegations made by multiple women, five of whom spoke with The Los Angeles Times in an article published Thursday. The alleged misconduct occurred at Studio 4 in Los Angeles and New York, the film school Franco launched where he taught and mentored those wanting to become actors and filmmakers.
Franco’s win for best actor in a comedy, “The Disaster Artist,” at Sunday night’s Golden Globe Awards “was like a slap in my face,” former acting student Sarah Tither-Kaplan told the Times. “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 also tweeted during the Golden Globe Awards.
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!
— Sarah Tither-Kaplan? (@sarahtk) January 8, 2018
She also alleged that Franco “removed protective plastic guards covering other actresses’ vaginas while simulating oral sex” during a nude orgy scene being filmed. Students Hilary Dusome and Natalie Chmiel claim there was pressure by Franco for actresses to be topless and he was once “visibly angry” when no one wanted to comply.
Franco “would always make everybody think there were possible roles on the table if we were to perform sexual acts or take off our shirts,” Studio 4 student Katie Ryan said.
The actor’s attempt to show solidarity with the Time’s Up initiative, a legal fund to fight sexual harassment and workplace inequality, instead ignited backlash during the award show as some actresses began to tweet their reactions.
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) January 9, 2018
“James Franco just won. Please never ever ask me why I left the film/tv business,” actress Ally Sheedy allegedly said in a series of tweets that were later deleted.
Actress Violet Paley tweeted about Franco allegedly forcing her to perform oral sex on him in 2016.
Cute #TIMESUP pin James Franco. Remember the time you pushed my head down in a car towards your exposed penis & that other time you told my friend to come to your hotel when she was 17? After you had already been caught doing that to a different 17 year old?
— Violet Paley (@VioletPaley) January 8, 2018
Franco addressed the controversy directly in an appearance on CBS’s “The Late Show” on Tuesday, denying the accusations. He wore the Time’s Up pin “because I do support it,” he told host Stephen Colbert, before addressing the tweets and allegations.
“There were some things on Twitter … I haven’t read them. I’ve heard about them,” he said. “Okay, first of all, I have no idea what I did to Ally Sheedy. I directed her in a play off-Broadway. I had nothing but a great time with her, total respect for her. I have no idea why she was upset. She took the tweet down. I don’t know. I can’t speak for her. I don’t know.”
“The others, look,” he continued. “In my life I pride myself on taking responsibility for things that I’ve done. I have to do that to maintain my well-being. I do it whenever I know that there is something wrong or needs to be changed, I make it a point to do it. The things that I heard that were on Twitter are not accurate. But 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 — I don’t want to, you know, shut them down in any way.”
A planned TimesTalk event with Franco about the making of “The Disaster Artist” was cancelled by The New York Times, according to Rolling Stone. “Given the controversy surrounding recent allegations, we’re no longer comfortable proceeding in that vein,” a spokesman said.
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