James Franco to Pay $2.2 Million in Sexual Misconduct Settlement
The settlement agreed upon in February is finally coming to a close.
In October 2019, two former students of James Franco’s defunct acting school filed a class-action lawsuit against the actor, claiming he sexually exploited them and other students of Studio 4 Film School and ultimately committed fraud. Now, according to The Hollywood Reporter, Franco and “associated entities” may have to pay $2,235,000 to resolve the lawsuit.
Court documents regarding the $2.2 million settlement agreement were made public on Wednesday, June 30th. A Los Angeles judge will now have to approve the deal before any money is paid to victims.
In February 2021, Sarah Tither-Kaplan and Toni Gaal, the former students who filed the lawsuit on behalf of themselves and other victims, agreed to drop all claims and enter into a tentative settlement with Franco.
Tither-Kaplan and Gaal’s claimed that Franco and his colleagues at Studio 4 “engaged in widespread inappropriate and sexually charged behavior towards female students by sexualizing their power as a teacher and an employer by dangling the opportunity for roles in their projects.” These actions “led to an environment of harassment and sexual exploitation both in and out of the class,” their suit reads.
“While Defendants continue to deny the allegations in the Complaint, they acknowledge that Plaintiffs have raised important issues; and all parties strongly believe that now is a critical time to focus on addressing the mistreatment of women in Hollywood,” the settlement documents reads, per THR. “All agree on the need to make sure that no one in the entertainment industry—regardless of race, religion, disability, ethnicity, background, gender or sexual orientation—faces discrimination, harassment or prejudice of any kind.”
Despite Tither-Kaplan’s and Gaal’s decisions to drop their claims, other members in the class action can opt out of this ruling if they refuse to do the same. Any unclaimed money will be donated to the National Women’s Law Center.