James Franco is speaking out for the first time after reaching an agreement in a class-action lawsuit filed by former students in 2019 alleging sexual harassment and discrimination.
Appeared on SiriusXM’s The Jess Cagle ProgramSeveral clips of the episode scheduled to air in full on December 23 show Franco opening up about why he’s remained publicly silent outside of a late-night appearance in front of the accusations. forced, what his “Sex Scene” class demanded from his perspective and alleges that he was creating a “pipeline” where women would be “personally and sexually exploited and his profession in the name of education.”
“In 2018, there were some complaints about me and an article about me, and at the time I just thought, I will shut up. I will – I will pause,” Franco said of the decision to remain silent about the public accusations. “It doesn’t seem like the right time to say anything. There are people who are upset with me and I need to listen. “
He went to see writer Damon Young, noting that “when something like this happens, it’s like a natural human instinct to just make it stop”. But, Franco said, the desire to get out in front of what’s going on – even with apologies – leaves no space for the defendant to “do the job and look at what’s underneath whatever you’ve done.” .”
“Even if it’s a bluff or you say something wrong or whatever, there can be an iceberg underneath the behavior, the pattern, about being blind to yourself that won’t be solved. resolved overnight,” he explained.
Brought by former students of Franco’s now-defunct Studio 4 school, the class action lawsuit was filed in 2019 by actresses Sarah Tither-Kaplan and Toni Gaal after Tither-Kaplan made allegations initially against Franco along with several other women in a LA time the story behind his 2018 Golden Globe win for Disaster Artist.
The lawsuit, which also names actor Rabbit Bandini’s production company and partners Vince Jolivette and Jay Daviss as defendants, accuses the producer and actor of sexual exploitation during a relationship scene class sex that Franco teaches at his alma mater (opened from 2014 to 2017). Among those allegations is that the actor pushed students to perform increasingly explicit sex scenes on camera in a “masochistic-type setting”.
It asserted that Franco “was seeking to create a group of young women who were subjected to his personal and professional sexual exploitation in the name of education” and led the students on the course to believe that the opportunity to play roles in the Franco’s film will be for those who have joined along.
Franco briefly addressed the allegations in an interview on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. “What I have heard is incorrect, but I fully support people coming out because they have been silent for so long. I don’t want to close them in any way. I think it’s a good thing and I support it,” he said.
Franco’s attorneys also continue to deny the allegations in the court filing, calling them “false and inflammatory, legally baseless and presented as a class-action lawsuit with clear objectives.” obviously get the Plaintiff’s attention as much as possible.”
In the podcast interview with Cagle, Franco discusses the nature of the class in question from his perspective, saying that its title is “provocative” but inaccurate with what is actually being taught and performed in the course.
“The dumbest thing I did, or one of the dumbest things I did, in school was I was called in one of my classes – a graduate class – ‘Sex scene.’ It’s not about the sex scene. I said.
He kept pointing at Netflix’s Chair and a fictional class that “everyone wants to be in” and run by a “cool” female teacher as an example of what he means, before denying claims in the lawsuit about what happened in his own course.
“She had a class called Sex and American Literature or something like that, to be provocative and cool, but they were reading Melville in class. That’s basically what I’m doing,” said Franco. “It should have been called Contemporary Romance or something like that. It was a class where they made scenes no matter what their love story was. What they went through when they were young. So, meeting people on dating apps, breaking up or just having a bad date – stuff like that. That’s what was done in that class. Those are not sex scenes.”
Although Franco’s description of the classroom differs significantly from what is alleged in the 2019 suit, the actor admitted that “there are some instances” of him sleeping with students, even though he said it wasn’t “with anyone in that particular class” and that he was “doing a consensual affair with a student and I shouldn’t have been”.
“During my teaching, I slept with students and that was wrong. But like I said, that’s not why I started the class, and I don’t – I’m not the one to choose who enters the class. So that’s not a master plan on my part. “
At another point in the interview, Franco mentions his history of drug abuse and sex addiction, as well as his relationship with fame that has exacerbated the behaviors involved. to his addiction. “Once I stopped using alcohol to fill that hole, it was like, ‘Oh success, attention – this is great. And so, in a strange way, I became addicted to validation.”
Franco said of sex addiction: “It’s a powerful drug. “I stuck with it for another 20 years, and the hidden part of that is that I stayed sober to alcohol the whole time. I went to meetings all that time. I even try to sponsor others. And in my head I was like, ‘Oh, I’m so sane. I am living a spiritual life. ‘ In a way, I’m acting in all sorts of other ways. And I can’t see it”.
He added, “I [was] completely blind to power dynamics or anything like that, but also completely blind to human emotions.”
“I just did a lot of work,” Franco says in a separate clip. “And I guess I’m pretty confident when I say, like, four years, you know? I was in recovery before substance abuse, and there are some issues that I have to deal with also related to addiction. So I actually used my recovery platform to start testing this and changing my persona. “
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