James Franco's high school took down murals he painted, and we're thinking it has to do with the sexual assault allegations against him
Yesterday, February 1st, James Franco’s alma mater Palo Alto High School announced they took down artwork and murals that the actor had painted for the school.
Franco graduated from Palo Alto High in 1996. In 2014, he went back and painted two murals on the student center and hung over 20 large paintings on campus. And now, the Palo Alto Unified School District confirmed that they painted over one of his murals last week.
This isn’t the first time they’ve replaced Franco’s artwork. In February 2016, the other mural was replaced by student artwork and some of his artwork in the library was removed last summer because of a renovation. However, some are wondering if the most recent removals have to do with the sexual misconduct allegations leveled against the actor in recent weeks.
Interim Superintendent Karen Hendricks made a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, saying, “The school site and district appreciated his donation, acknowledging that the artwork was intended to be temporary in nature and would be respectfully returned or painted over at some point. Related to this, district staff recently considered the best interests of our students in the light of our educational mission, and decided to remove and return the remaining artwork.”
She added, “The second mural was taken down last week; our Latinos Unidos group is working with the Paly ASB and VAPA Department around the concept for a new mural to be painted. Their idea was to celebrate the rich cultural backgrounds and diversity on our campus. We are excited that they came up with this idea, and look forward to helping them with the project.”
The school’s principal, Kimberly Diorto, also made a statement about removing the mural, telling The Voice, “I made the decision we’ll take down the mural on the [student center] because I think that’s the one that’s most visible to the outside community.” While Franco’s sexual misconduct allegations weren’t explicitly mentioned in either statement, it seems likely they had something to do with the decision.
Franco was accused of sexual misconduct after winning the Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical award at the 2018 Golden Globes. He appeared on stage with a #TimesUp pin to accept his award. Shortly afterwards, Breakfast Club actress Ally Sheedy sent out a tweet that implied Franco was one of the reasons she left Hollywood. Actress Violet Paley also sent out a series of tweets accusing Franco of sexual misconduct against herself and a friend.
Franco has denied the allegations against him, telling Stephen Colbert, “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 shut them down in any way. I think it’s a good thing and I support it.”
Franco has yet to make a statement about the removal of his artwork.