James Franco has been accused of “inappropriate” or “sexually exploitative” behavior by five women, days after the actor and filmmaker wore a “Time’s Up” pin to the Golden Globes in solidarity with victims of sexual misconduct.
In interviews with the Los Angeles Times, four of Franco’s former acting students made a range of misconduct allegations against the Golden Globe-winning Disaster Artist star.
One former student, Sarah Tither-Kaplan, told the Times that while filming an orgy scene for a project, Franco had the actresses remove plastic guards that covered their genitals as he simulated performing oral sex on them.
Two other students claimed that Franco became angry when, during a shoot, none of the actresses involved would agree to performing topless.
“I feel there was an abuse of power, and there was a culture of exploiting non-celebrity women, and a culture of women being replaceable,” Tither-Kaplan told the Times.
Franco had launched the Studio 4 acting schools in Los Angeles and New York in 2014, but both schools were closed suddenly last year, the Times reported.
The allegations against the actor come after actress Ally Sheedy posted three cryptic tweets referring to Franco following his win at the Golden Globes Sunday night.
“James Franco just won. Please never ask me why I left the film/tv business,” the former Breakfast Club star tweeted during the show, captioning one of her tweets, “#MeToo.”
Franco appeared on Late Night with Seth Meyers Wednesday night, where he addressed the allegations against him. The actor said he believes women’s claims deserve to be heard and that he would not “actively refute” the allegations against him.
“I did read them, I haven’t responded. I think the ones I read were not accurate, but one of the things that I’ve learned is that this is a conversation that needs to be had,” Franco said. “There are people and women and others that have not been a part of this conversation, and I truly believe — and why I was wearing the pin — is that they need to be a part of this conversation. So I support them.”
Franco also addressed the claims in an interview with Stephen Colbert the previous night, telling the late-night host he “completely support[s] people coming out and being able to have a voice because they didn’t have a voice for so long.”
On Wednesday, the New York Times cancelled a scheduled interview with Franco and his actor younger brother, James Franco, due to the allegations.
An attorney for the actor disputed the allegations in a statement to the Times.
Franco is the latest prominent figure in Hollywood to be accused of sexually inappropriate behavior. As Breitbart News has documented, more than 100 powerful figures in entertainment have been accused since the New York Times first published an exposé into movie producer Harvey Weinstein in October.
Follow Daniel Nussbaum on Twitter: @dznussbaum