In a new report by the Los Angeles Times, five women have accused actor James Franco of “sexually exploitative” behavior. The allegations, which stem from tweeted comments that gained currency after the star and director of The Disaster Artist took home a Golden Globe on Sunday, have already sent Franco on an apology tour with recent appearances on The Late Show and Late Night. Despite this, the details of the accusations made by his former film school students and acting mentees have not been previously reported until now.
Four of the five women who spoke with the Times were former students of Franco’s shuttered film school Studio 4, which had locations in Los Angeles and New York until they “abruptly closed last fall.” Sarah Tither-Kaplan said “there was an abuse of power” at the school and its offshoot productions — like on the set of The Long Home, a 2015 indie starring Franco, Josh Hutcherson, Courtney Love, and Timothy Hutton. A few of Franco’s students agreed to perform nude in a simple scene, which was subsequently transformed into an orgy “bonus scene”:
A handful of other women were selected to appear with Franco, who simulated performing oral sex on each of them, Tither-Kaplan said. But in each case, she said he removed a clear plastic guard that covered their vaginas — and continued to simulate the sex act with no protection.
Aside from making such drastic changes without prior consent, Franco’s “Sex Scenes” class at Studio 4 also maintained questionable practices. The class “taught students about the art of being intimate on camera,” and through collaboration and consent, scene partners would produce and submit student film projects for it. However, many of these otherwise private videos were unceremoniously uploaded to the school’s public Vimeo without prior approval:
In a May 2015 email sent to Tither-Kaplan and her fellow “Sex Sceners,” which was reviewed by The Times, a company employee told the class he “just wanted to let [them] know the films are now up on the Studio 4 Vimeo Channel.”
Franco’s attorney, Michael Plonsker, told the Times, “Any online posting of videos, including if applicable Vimeo, were operated and created by the students to showcase their collective work.” Yet according to the email quoted above, which Tither-Kaplan provided to the paper, Franco’s production company Rabbit Bandini seems to have known about the Vimeo uploads.
(Via Los Angeles Times)