Five women have accused actor James Franco of sexual misconduct in a report published Thursday by the Los Angeles Times. The accusations range from coerced oral sex to exploitative work environments. On Sunday, Franco accepted a Golden Globe for his work on The Disaster Artist while wearing a “Time’s Up” pin.
Four of the women were students of Franco’s at various acting schools, while one said he was her mentor. Sarah Tither-Kaplan told the Times that, while filming a nude orgy scene three years ago, Franco removed several actresses’ plastic guards covering their vaginas while simulating oral sex. Tither-Kaplan tweeted after the Golden Globes that Franco had put her in what she considered an exploitative situation. The tweet went viral, along with a series by actress Ally Sheedy.
Two others, Hilary Dusome and Natalie Chmiel, recounted Franco growing angry on a set when none of the actresses would take their shirts off at his request. Chmiel also said that she was told the footage would be used for a jeans commercial, while Dusome believed it was for one of his “art films.” They, along with Tither-Kaplan and fellow accuser Katie Ryan, met Franco through the acting schools Playhouse West and Studio 4.
Ryan told the Times that she received many mass emails from Franco about auditions to play a “prostitute or a hooker” and that 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.”
Finally, Violet Paley, who also tweeted allegations against Franco after the Golden Globe awards, said Franco had pressured her into performing oral sex on him. After the incident, she says they had a consensual sexual relationship. Per the Times:
“I was talking to him, all of a sudden his penis was out,” said Paley. “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.”
Franco’s attorney denied each woman’s allegations to the Times. Franco responded to the tweets after the Golden Globes, before the Times report was published, on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert. He told Colbert:
The things that I’ve 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. I don’t want to shut them down in any way. I think it’s a good thing and I support it.
Tither-Kaplan said that late last year, post-Weinstein, Franco reached out to her to apologize if he had made her uncomfortable.
“I want to give him credit for at least being open to communicating with me,” she said. “I felt that he was still not really taking accountability for the environment on the sets.”