HOLLYWOOD—Actor James Franco has been accused of sexual misconduct, adding his name to the growing list of celebrities identified in the #MeToo movement.
Franco, 39, has been accused by five different women, four of which were former students and one who identified him as her mentor. He previously won a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical for his performance in “The Disaster Artist.” Two of the accusers, actresses Sarah Tither-Kaplan and Violet Paley took to Twitter to speak out against the actor.
Tither-Kaplan, a former student at Franco’s Studio 4 acting school wrote, “Remember a few weeks ago when you told me the full nudity you had me do in two of your movies for $100/day wasn’t exploitative because I signed a contract to do it? Times up on that!”
Tither-Kaplan spoke to the Los Angeles Times indicating that Franco had an “abuse of power” on his film sets and that he created a “culture of exploiting non-celebrity women.”
She added that, during a nude orgy scene she shot with Franco three years ago, the actor removed the plastic covers protecting some of the actresses’ genitals while having oral sex with them.
Paley and Franco once engaged in a consensual relationship, bus she claimed that it did not begin consensually. Paley wrote “cute #TIMESUP pin James Franco. Remember the time you pushed my head down in a car towards your exposed penis & that other time you told my friend to come to your hotel when she was 17? After you had already been caught doing that to a different 17 year old?”
Three other women accused the actor as well including Hilary Dusome and Natalite Chmiel, two former students of Franco’s, who according to reports, noted that the actor often put them in uncomfortable, sexual settings in his classes. Katie Ryan, a third student, told the Los Angeles Times that Franco “would always make everybody think there were possible roles on the table if we were to perform sexual acts or take off our shirts.”
Franco’s attorney, Michael Plonsker, said that Franco denies the allegations. During an interview with late-night talk show host Stephen Colbert, Franco said “the things that I heard that were on Twitter are not accurate.” “I completely support people coming out and being able to have a voice because they didn’t have a voice for so long. I don’t want to shut them down in any way. It’s a good thing I support. If I have done something wrong, I will fix it – I have to,” he continued.
According to People Magazine, Franco is now laying low, and is in “a pretty bad place.” “He’s in a really bad place, so bad that he changed his phone number. His close friends are trying to be there for him but it’s been hard – he’s only talking to a select group of people. For now, he’s just hiding out,” an unnamed source told People.
Franco skipped the Critics’ Choice Awards on Thursday, January 11 where he won the award for Best Actor in a Comedy for his work in the film “The Disaster Artist.”