James Franco has broken his silence about sleeping with students of his now-defunct acting school, six months after settling a class-action sexual misconduct suit for $2.2 million.
The Milk star said in an interview with SiriusXM’s Jess Cagle that he did not start the school, Studio 4, to create a “a pipeline of young women” to have sex with, as the suit claims.
“I think some people listening to this will say, how could you not see that there would be a power imbalance among a teacher — who’s not just a teacher, but is James Franco, a very, very famous, powerful actor and producer — and a student?” Cagle asks Franco in the interview.
Franco admits he knew the power imbalance inherent in the encounters was “probably not a cool thing,” but that he justified it at the time because it was “consensual.”
He also clarifies that he did not sleep with any students from his “sex scenes class,” which is…supposed to make it better?
“Look, I’ll admit I did sleep with students. I didn’t sleep with anybody in [my ‘Sex Scenes’ class], but, over the course of my teaching, I did sleep with students and that was wrong,” Franco, 43, explained.
“But like I said, I, it’s not why I started the school and I, I didn’t, I wasn’t the person that selected the people to be in the class. So it wasn’t a master plan on my part. But yes, there were certain instances where, you know what I was in a consensual thing with, with a student and I shouldn’t have been.”
Ex-students Sarah Tither-Kaplan and Toni Gaal filed a lawsuit in the Los Angeles County Superior Court in October 2019 claiming Franco and other teachers pressured women to strip naked for auditions while dangling film opportunities that almost never came to fruition.
One woman claimed that during the “sex scenes” course, Franco made the women remove the plastic guards covering their vaginas.
Another said Franco told female students that “there were possible roles on the table if we were to perform sexual acts or take off our shirts.” She also says he would frequently email her about job opportunities, but the roles were always for “a prostitute or a hooker.”
Two other women say Franco was “hostile” towards them during a film shoot that took place in a strip club when they refused to take their tops off.
By engaging in “widespread inappropriate and sexually charged behavior towards female students,” Franco fostered “an environment of harassment and sexual exploitation” at Studio 4, the suit claims.
Elsewhere in the interview, Franco talks about battling sex addiction and says he “cheated on everyone” before his current girlfriend, Izabel Pakzad.
Franco’s career, a good portion of which has focused on telling queer-themed stories, hasn’t appeared to suffer from any of the allegations.
Is this not the same publication who defended the gay politican/professor for sleeping with his students in New Hampshire? Y’all are something else with the double standards!
Oh, Jared. It’s been too long bestie.
That dude had a wife (and still does) and was “straight presenting” as far as we know. While as flawed, hypocritical and sensationalistic as this site is, I don’t recall any articles of them defending that dude. Try to do a bit more research instead of immediately looking to shit on and blame “gays” for everything.
As far as James, he always just oozed perversion and creep. His hyper obsession with “gays” and “queer culture” despite being “straight presenting” and his focus on teenage girls made it very apparent there was something going on there. He unfortunately reflected the stereotype of someone with megalomania issues, someone dealing with past traumas and addictions and paraphiliacs, and someone dealing with fluidity, hyper and compulsive sexuality, mental health issues and uncertainty/insecurities about his place in the gender, sexual, affection, romantic, emotional investment, relationship comfort, commitment spectrum. Too bad he didn’t try to confront his problems before indulging such messy, predatory behaviors.
Remember when people were saying that he was bi?
It’s been pretty obvious that James has not lived an entirely hetero lifestyle and has some degrees of queerness in him. Like half of the entertainment industry probably has some degrees of queerness/is in the gender, sexual, affection, romantic, emotional investment, commitment spectrum. It’s a mundane observation at this point.
The editors here repeatedly post stories about how people are pansexual. Maybe they actually posted something that was true? I’m potsexual.
This seems to be an example where someone has paid a monetary and social price for his sexual misconduct and has worked and is working on recovery from addiction. I’ll refrain from judging him.
I do believe compulsive sexual behavior can and should be considered an addiction in the way that food and gambling addictions are increasingly recognized.
I hope he continues working on repairing himself and his relationships with others – I think, it should be easier if you’re James Franco, but maybe that’s why he got himself in a mess in the first place.
I know what he did was wrong but can I say he is still handsome.
I wish you didn’t but unfortunately you did.
Agreed handsome and forgivable. Funny he didn’t lie about the film roles, he said there would be roles he just didn’t say what type and if they’re unwillingly to play a prostitute because they feel it’s below them, then they’re careers will never take off.
On the other hand, was this a female only acting school? What about the males and their sex scene course, who taught that?
i think he’s gorgeous.
I,m going to get hit, but here we go,, this cancel culture has gone overboard, I like this guy,
these are!! consenting adults right? no rape, evil, and grossly wrong, but what I,m reading are heavy suggestions not being locked up and told to strip, I hope he is a good human learned, and so did many to anyone if we do not like it do not do it, turn walk or run, but! this you hurt my feeling so your canceled has to have better overseers
I typically wonder how much “blame” may be put on the other “consensual” adult in these stories, BUT, assuming the statements that the victims made in this story are true, he absolutely crossed the line and bears the total responsibility for what apparently happened. To blatantly tell someone they would get promoted for performing sex acts gives you no room to defend yourself. Maybe he’s truthful in claiming he and his partner didn’t open the school for this purpose, but he should had realized his proclivity to this type activity and steered away from creating the opportunity if that were the case.
@john, James Franco has not only been criticized for sleeping with students, which is sleazy and could have resulted in his being fired, except that he owned the acting school so he was the boss, but also for propositioning an underage girl (even after he learned she was underage), creepy behavior involving women before he founded Studio 4, and then a host of allegations once he launched Studio 4. Sex addict or not, he has a lot to answer for, but it’s not only about him, but also reflects the power that Hollywood and the mainstream media accorded him, which I don’t doubt made him feel invulnerable. He was so heavily hyped it was ridiculous. James Franco also has not been “canceled” by any measure. He’s still got quite a few projects underway.
I’d be surprised if ANY of the “students” were actors. Most likely they are wannabe’s who wanted to meet (and possibly more) a famous person
“the action of showing something to be right or reasonable.“
It appears to me he is more so explaining why he did something. Not justifying it as right. He has admitted it was wrong.
Of course this was scuzzy (and stupid), but when it comes to “power imbalance”, isn’t that part of the attraction for the person with less power? I doubt if these women felt they had to have sex with Franco or he’d give them a bad grade. Surely they picked this “acting school” over others with more established and better reputations because they thought being one on one with Franco could potentionally give a big boost to the acting career they wanted. And the possibility of genuine attraction aside, isn’t that (in some cases) the reason they slept with him?
Having sex with someone of equal (or–horrors–lesser) “power” would be pointless from that point of view. Yes, the “casting couch” is scummy and unethical, but the aspiring actor (male or female) who hops on the couch isn’t necessarily a “victim”.
I’ve always liked James Franco, think he’s sexy as hell, and have seen all of his movies—-some multiple times. But let’s tell it like it is—- that “acting school” thing is SO transparent. I’m actually surprised he undertook such a project. Of course he has to address the matter if he plans to continue as a “celebrity.” I’m pretty disappointed in him and his motive(s) but it’s certainly not the end of the world.
Could not have the women say no and take their business elsewhere? I don’t get where he was the only celeb in town doing this sort of training. There are plenty of others they could have found who would have been more reputable. Did he hold a gun on these girls? I don’t understand where women do not realize they have the power to say “NO” and walk out in this day and age!
when he knew that it was wrong but still does it, that’s a pretty serious addiction. he needs pro help.
I was prepared to see a handful of posts from thirsty and misogynistic/misanthropic queers dismissing the allegations (using the pretense of education to essentially create a sex ring, sleeping with many teenage girls, using power and promise to get sexual favors, the couple of physical abuse allegations). And of course, I was not disappointed.
I just found out that women wear plastic shields over their vaginas during sex scenes. Do men wear some device to cover their penises? Just when I thought I knew everything.
In terms of this notion of “cancel culture,” as far as I can tell James Franco has not been “canceled”; he just completed a film he’s both directed and is acting in; he’s producing six or so forthcoming projects; he’s appearing as himself in several projects, and so on. How does this constitute being “canceled”? People who misbehave should be able to bear criticism for that behavior, which is not the same as being “canceled.” In fact, a lot of this furor around “cancel culture” is just another way of shirking accountability and responsibility for behavior that earns criticism.
I don’t think you understand cancel culture. That to be cancelled is not about a cancellation. It’s about seeking a reaction that tell everyone how superior YOU are… how perfect YOU are.
I love the arrogance of the Karens like Cam here. Ironic how they routinely lie and deceive in order to elevate their ‘superior’ opinion. Check out Donston above – no self-awareness there.
I wish somebody would just cancel Queerty, except then I’d have to try a little harder to remind myself how stupid and self-righteous queers have become. Not long ago, this was the kind of moralizing, puritanical trash used to justify all manner of violence and discrimination against homos—but now that we’re normal, we get to throw stones, too.
Well, I’ll probably get flamed and verbally crucified, but here goes…
Okay, what Franco did was creepy, and yeah, sometimes he does give off a…IDK…strange aura, but I have the same problem with this article as I did with the article on Kevin Spacey. Who among us hasn’t done something really bad that we regret? And who among us, when confronted about it, hasn’t had the completely human tendency to somehow try to minimize it or be dismissive simply because we were so mortified and embarrassed by our own actions. My hand is up. We’re all human. We all fail miserably at being a human at some point or another. I hold nothing against Kevin Spacey. I hold nothing against James Franco. I don’t condone their actions. I realize they are human, just like me. And I forgive because I desire to be forgiven. As a gay man, I hate to say it, as I have many times, I find the gay community horribly judgemental and unforgiving, considering how often we are judged.
THIS! Ironic how Queerty posts stories promoting pansexuals, then tries to demean someone who might possibly be pansexual.
His school seems to have been transactional: he gives them hope, they give him money, he provides access to fame, they gives him sex, he gives them a sex story, then he gives them money. Or was the sex just what happens between consenting adults, including the regret? Regardless, let’s hope they didn’t give anyone a social disease.
NEVER has James Franco done anything for me : looks ,”acting” or sexually. I think he’s like a LOT of supposedly “talented” performers these days: There is NOTHING there. They’re ALL over hyped talentless hacks and are only the au currant face(s) to get eye balls on the screens and $$$ in the studios /producers bank accounts. Hollywood is a dark and strange entity and has ALWAYS presented a glittering, glamourous facade that hides a LOT of vapid, empty, shallow ,sad behavior. Franco is a PREDATOR. PERIOD. Like quite a number of hetero males..They’re wired that way. Sick but true !!!
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