James Franco says fallout with ‘closest work friend’ Seth Rogen was ‘hurtful’

Rogen publicly distanced himself from the actor following sexual misconduct allegations

James Franco said the fallout with long-time collaborator and friend Seth Rogen was “hurtful”.

In a new, in-depth interview on SiriusXM’s Jess Cagle Podcast which will be released in full on Thursday (23 December), Franco discussed the sexual misconduct allegations made against him in January 2018 for the first time.

During the episode, the 127 Hours actor talked about his current relationship with “absolute closest work friend” Seth Rogen in the wake of the allegations.

In an interview with The Times in May this year, Rogen had publicly distanced himself from Franco and said he had no plans to work with his The Interview co-star at the time.

Rogen had said: “What I can say is that I despise abuse and harassment and I would never cover or conceal the actions of someone doing it, or knowingly put someone in a situation where they were around someone like that.”

“The truth is that I have not and I do not plan to [work with Franco] right now,” Rogen continued, adding the allegations against Franco had affected their relationship.

In conversation with podcast host Jess Cagle, Franco said Rogen’s comments were “hurtful in context” but that he understood 39-year-old actor’s position.

Confirming that the actors had no plans to work together, Franco added: “He had to answer for me ‘cause I was silent. He had to answer for me, and I don’t want that. So that’s why, that’s one of the main reasons I wanted to talk to you today: I don’t want Seth or my brother [actor Dave Franco] or anyone to have to answer for me anymore.”

Five women – including four students of his acting school – accused the Oscar-nominated actor of sexual misconduct in January 2018.

Sarah Tither-Kaplan and Toni Gaal, two of his accusers, went on to launch legal action against the actor in 2019.

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Both of them were taught by Franco at the Studio 4 school in Playhouse West, Los Angeles that he had co-founded in 2014. The school was shut down in 2017.

Franco has repeatedly denied these allegations.

Earlier this year, it was reported that Franco had agreed to pay $2.2m (£1.7m) to settle the suit, which alleged that he and his business partners had “engaged in widespread inappropriate and sexually charged behaviour towards female students by sexualising their power as a teacher and an employer by dangling the opportunity for roles in their projects”.

In the interview with Cagle, Franco said he was “completely blind to power dynamics” at the time, and admitted to having sex with his acting students.

He also revealed he sought “validation” from women in the form of sexual approval, adding: “It’s such a powerful drug, and I got hooked on it for 20 more years.”

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