James Franco to pay $2.2m settlement in sexual misconduct case, reports say

Legal representatives for the actor originally responded to the misconduct claims, calling them ‘false and inflammatory’

Rachel Brodsky
Los Angeles
Wednesday 30 June 2021 22:54 BST
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James Franco and associated parties will reportedly pay a settlement of $2,235,000 to resolve a lawsuit alleging that the actor coerced acting students into performing explicit sex scenes on camera.

The proposed deal is being put to a Los Angeles judge for approval, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The lawsuit first came about in October 2020 when two former acting students of Franco’s, Sarah Tither-Kaplan and Toni Gaal, alleged that they and other students at Studio 4 Film School in New York and Los Angeles had been victims of fraud.

The lawsuit alleged that Franco and his partners “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”.

Legal representatives for Franco originally responded to the misconduct claims, calling them “false and inflammatory”.

“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 reads. “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.”

Tither-Kaplan originally shared her allegations of sexual misconduct against Franco along with other women in the Los Angeles Times after Franco won a Golden Globe Award in early 2018.

In May, Seth Rogen revealed he had no plans to work with Franco again. The pair were known for their frequent collaborations, including Pineapple Express, This Is the End and The Disaster Artist.

“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,” he told Sunday Times’ Culture magazine.

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