James Franco admitted to sleeping with some of the students he taught in his acting classes and first addressed allegations of sexual misconduct against him nearly four years ago in a new interview on The Jess Cagle Show.
“There were people annoyed with me and I needed to listen,” Franco told Cagle, adding, “The natural human instinct is to stop it. You just want to get out in front of it and whatever you have to do, apologize, get it done. But what it doesn’t do is let you do it.” Working, and looking at what was under it…there was probably an iceberg below—from demeanor, pattern, and just being blind to yourself, and that’s not going to be resolved overnight. So I’ve been doing a lot of work.”
In 2018, five women accused Franco of “indecent or sexually exploitative” behavior, primarily when he was an acting teacher at Playhouse West and the now-closed film school he founded, Studio 4. The following year, two former Studio 4 students, Sarah Tether raised Kaplan and Tony Gall sued Franco, alleging that he sexually abused them; A settlement was reached in February 2021 and it was later reported that Franco would pay $2,235,000 to those involved in the class action.
Tether Kaplan’s lawyer did not return and toured immediately rolling rockComment requested, but the husband previously accused Franco and his business partners of “engag[ing] in widespread inappropriate and sexually charged behavior towards female students by sexualizing their power as a teacher and employer by attaching opportunity to roles in their projects,” according to the lawsuit.
Tither-Kaplan tweeted Wednesday, apparently addressing Franco’s interview: “Apologies are meaningless until effective steps are taken towards harm reduction and directed specifically at the survivors. The general statements ‘sorry’ or ‘I was wrong’ or ‘I love women’ etc., do not Doing something to help those who have been harmed. … Showing violators on platforms while excluding survivors causes more damage. Blacklisting survivors is still a real problem.”
In the new interview, Franco claimed that he did not slept with any students who took the controversial “sex scenes” course in Studio 4 that was identified in the aforementioned lawsuit. In the lawsuit, he was accused of making would-be students register for said classes and videotape auditions with the understanding that Franco would remain in possession of the tapes; Students also had to give up their rights to the recordings.
“During my teaching time, I slept with the students and that was a mistake,” Franco said. “That’s not why I started school, and I wasn’t the one who picked people to be in the class, so it wasn’t a master plan on my part. But, yeah, there were some cases, you know, I was in agreement with a student and I wasn’t supposed to do it “.
When Franco was asked about the power imbalance in a relationship between not just a teacher, but a famous actor and a student, he said, “I suppose at the time, my thinking was, if consensual, well. Of course, I knew, you know, to talk to other people or teachers. Others or something like, ‘Yeah, maybe that’s not a great thing.’ At the time I wasn’t that clear, like I said. So, I guess it’s just about my standards, if that’s consensual, like, I think it’s cool. We’re all adults , So … “
Franco also claimed that he was blinded by apparent imbalances of power while discussing his struggles with sex addiction and an inability to remain faithful to former partners. Franco said that while his sponsor told him that being unfaithful was not good for his sobriety, if he wasn’t dating anyone, whatever happened between two consensual adults would be fine.
The problem was, Franco said, “I just took that and ran with him and used it as an excuse to communicate all over the place. And it was like, OK, we’re being honest here, aren’t we? And like I said, completely blind to power dynamics or anything like that. But also blind.” Totally out of people’s feelings…behavior spawned to a point where it was like, I was hurting everyone else.”
Elsewhere, Franco talks about his relationship with Seth Rogen, his old friend and collaborator. In May, Rogen said he had not worked with Franco in several years and had no plans to do so in the future. “What he said is true,” Franco said, “we are not working together at the moment and we have no plans to work together.”
Of Rogen’s comments at the time, Franco said, “Of course, it was hurtful in context, but I got it. He had to answer me because I was silent. He had to answer me and I didn’t want to. And that’s why I wanted to talk to you today, because I’m I don’t want Seth or my brother [Dave Franco] Or anyone has to answer me anymore.”
Franco’s full interview today The Jess Cagle Show It will air on Thursday, December 23 at 2 PM ET.