James Franco accusers blast ‘insensitive’ star for ‘downplaying’ claims


James Franco

James Franco addressed the sexual misconduct accusations this week (Picture: FilmMagic)

Two women who accused James Franco of sexual misconduct have slammed the actor for ‘downplaying’ their alleged experiences in his latest interview.

In 2019, Franco, 43, was sued by Sarah Tither-Kaplan and Toni Gaal who claimed the actor – and his partners at his acting school Playhouse West Studio 4 – ‘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’. 

The following year, the actor alleged the pair were ‘attention-hungry’ and made ‘false and inflammatory’ claims for publicity. 

He has now agreed on a settlement for his two accusers. 

In an interview this week with SiriusXM, Franco said he was ‘in recovery before substance abuse’ and had issues ‘related to addiction’ that he needed to deal with. He also said that he wanted to ‘do the work’ and was ‘changing’ who he was. 

Reacting to his comments, attorneys who represent Tither-Kaplan and Gaal said in a statement released to People: ‘In addition to being blind about power dynamics, Franco is completely insensitive to, and still apparently does not care about, the immense pain and suffering he put his victims through with this sham of an acting school. 

James Franco

Franco has reportedly settled with the two accusers (Picture: WireImage)

‘It is unbelievable that even after agreeing to a settlement he continues to downplay the survivors’ experiences and ignore their pain, despite acknowledging he had no business starting such a school in the first place. 

‘This wasn’t a misunderstanding over a course name, it wasn’t the result of him being overworked — it was, and is, despicable conduct.’ 

They continued: ‘Nobody should confuse this interview with Franco taking accountability for his actions or expressing remorse over what happened. 

‘It is a transparent ducking of the real issues released just before a major holiday in hopes that he wouldn’t face any scrutiny over his response.’ 

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Franco has agreed to pay $2.2million (£1.6million) to resolve the lawsuit.

In 2018, several women accused Franco of sexual misconduct. The actor said at the time that the accusations were ‘not accurate’ but did not want to ‘shut down’ people who ‘did not have a voice’.

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