James Franco and his acting school students reach settlement deal reached in suit
The class-action lawsuit claims the incidents occurred in a master class on sex scenes that James Franco taught at his acting school, which operated from 2014 until 2017.
A settlement deal has been reached in a class-action lawsuit alleging “127 Hours” star James Franco engaged in sexual misconduct with students at an acting school he founded called Studio 4, the Associated Press (AP) reported, quoting attorneys for the plaintiffs.
The document is said to have been filed on 11 February, however, the settlement hasn’t previously been reported.
According to the court filing cited by AP, former students at the now-defunct acting school, Sarah Tither-Kaplan and Toni Gaal, who filed the lawsuit in 2019, have agreed to drop their claims under the deal.
The pair alleged that the actor had intimidated his students into performing in explicit sex scenes on camera in an “orgy type setting” that went far beyond the standards in the industry.
The lawsuit claimed that Franco “sought to create a pipeline of young women who were subjected to his personal and professional sexual exploitation in the name of education”. It also alleged students were led to believe that those who went along would be able to land roles in Franco’s movies.
Franco’s attorneys previously dismissed the allegations as “false and inflammatory, legally baseless and brought as a class action with the obvious goal of grabbing as much publicity as possible for attention-hungry plaintiffs”. They also stressed that Tither-Kaplan had previously expressed gratitude for the opportunity to work with the actor.
Prior to filing the lawsuit, Tither-Kaplan came forward with allegations of sexual misconduct against Franco along with several other women in The Los Angeles Times, shortly after the actor scooped up a Golden Globe Award for “The Disaster Artist” in 2018, just as the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements were gaining momentum in Hollywood.
At the time, Franco, who appeared on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert”, dismissed the allegations against him as inaccurate, but said, “If I’ve done something wrong, I will fix it”.