On January 7th, James Franco won a Golden Globe for his role in The Disaster Artist at the 2018 Golden Globe Awards. But Franco’s win ignited anger in some women who tweeted that the actor had behaved inappropriately toward them. Now, five women have made sexual misconduct allegations against Franco.
The women’s allegations were published in a January 10th article in the Los Angeles Times. Four of the women are former students of Franco’s, and one saw Franco as a mentor. Franco had run an acting workshop, Studio 4, in L.A. and New York, which closed in the fall of 2017. A former Studio 4 student, Katie Ryan, told the Times that Franco led students to believe they would be cast in his projects if they performed sexual acts.
Hilary Dusome and Natalie Chmiel, who were Franco’s students at a different workshop, Playhouse West, told the Times that Franco grew angry when actresses refused to film a scene topless.
The most recent accusations against Franco began during the 2018 Golden Globe Awards, when women noticed the actor wearing a Time’s Up pin on his lapel.
Sarah Tither-Kaplan, another former Studio 4 student, was among the women who called out Franco after seeing the pin. On January 7th, she tweeted that Franco had coerced her into shooting a nude scene in two of his movies.
Violet Paley also accused Franco of sexual abuse. She tweeted that he had attempted to force her to perform oral sex on him in a car, and that he also once tried to solicit her 17-year-old friend to a hotel room. Paley was not one of Franco’s students, but she had asked him for feedback on a script she was writing. She did state that they had a consensual relationship at one point (which does not, in any shape or form, negate her accusations of sexual abuse).
On The Late Show on January 9th, Franco denied the charges of sexual harassment when questioned by Stephen Colbert, although he did not condemn the women for speaking out.
Women, no matter what industry they’re in, should never feel pressured to engage in sexual acts. We hope Franco will acknowledge these allegations and take responsibility for the damage his actions may have caused. We stand by Franco’s five accusers and all women who have been sexually abused.