As James Franco kicked up his heels following his Golden Globes win, Twitter stirred with cries over his hypocrisy for daring to wear a Time’s Up pin. On Tuesday, The New York Times cancelled a public talk with Franco because of the tweeted allegations. Today, the LA Times shares the stories of five women who describe Franco’s behavior toward them as “inappropriate or sexually exploitative.”
Four of the women were acting students of Franco’s, while the fifth described him as a mentor. All gave examples of how Franco employed an imbalance of power, which favored the rich and famous movie star, to pressure women into sexual scenarios. Some of the incidents detailed are:
*Sarah Tither-Kaplan, who’d tweeted about Franco after his win, described filming a “nude orgy scene” where Franco “removed protective plastic guards covering other actresses’ vaginas while simulating oral sex on them.”
* Hilary Dusome recounted how she believed she’d been cast in one of the actor/director’s “art films,” but discovered it was a commercial shoot for a 7 For All Mankind jeans commercial, shot in a strip club.
*According to she and Natalie Chmiel, Franco became hostile when none of the actresses on the commercial would volunteer to go topless. So, he stormed off set.
*Katie Ryan, said of Franco’s acting classes at Playhouse West, “(He) would always make everybody think there were possible roles on the table if we were to perform sexual acts or take off our shirts.”
*Ryan noted Franco’s e-mails blasts often offered actresses casting opportunities, often to play “a prostitute or a hooker.”
“He just took advantage of our eagerness to work and be a part of something bigger,” Chmiel said. “We were all these up-and-coming actors who were so hopeful.”
“I feel there was an abuse of power,” Tither-Kaplan explained, “And there was a culture of exploiting non-celebrity women, and a culture of women being replaceable.”
“I felt like I was selected for something based on my hard work and my merit, and when I realized it was because I have nice [breasts], it was pretty clear that was not the case.” Dusome shared, “I don’t think he started teaching with bad intentions, but he went down a bad path and damaged a lot of people in the process.”
Meanwhile, Franco is on the talk show circuit, promoting The Disaster Artist. In his latest appearance on Late Night with Seth Meyers, he addresses the aforementioned tweets. As the episode was recorded before the LA Times story hit, he makes no mention of it. However, it is very likely that Franco had already been reached for comment, and so knew of its contents.
Franco said in part:
“I have my own side of this story but I believe in these people that have been underrepresented getting their stories out enough that I will hold back things that I could say just because I believe in (the Time’s Up movement) that much. And if I have to take a knock because I’m not going to try to you know actively refute things? Then I will, because I believe in it that much.”
While Franco considers calling the accusations “not accurate” on a national talk show “not actively refuting” them, he has denied the allegations made in the LA Times story through his attorney.
We recommend reading the LA Times piece in its entirety.