Lloyd Bishop/NBC(LOS ANGELES) — As he made the talk show rounds this week, newly-minted Golden Globe winner James Franco was asked about allegations of sexual misconduct. On Thursday, the accusations got louder.
The Los Angeles Times reports that five women have come forward to accuse Franco of inappropriate or sexually exploitative behavior. Four were his acting students and another said Franco was her mentor.
Sarah Tither-Kaplan, a former student of Franco’s film school, Studio 4, claims that during a scene in one of his productions that involved multiple women, Franco removed the plastic guards covering the actresses’ private parts, and then simulated a sex act on them.
Tither-Kaplan says last year, after the Harvey Weinstein story broke, Franco apologized for making her feel uncomfortable.
“I want to give him credit for at least being open to communicating with me,” she said, but added that she felt “he was still not really taking accountability for the environment on the sets.”
Two other students who worked with Franco at Playhouse West in North Hollywood recalled negative experiences on set, saying he became angry when women refused to get topless during a shoot.
Another student at Studio 4, Katie Ryan, says 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.”
A fifth accuser, Violet Paley, says Franco pressured her into performing a sex act while the two were sitting in her car. She says the two later had a consensual sexual relationship. After Franco won the Golden Globe Sunday, Paley tweeted about the experience.
Franco’s attorney has denied the women’s allegations.
This week, Franco appeared on both The Late Show and Late Night, telling both Stephen Colbert and Seth Meyers, respectively, that accusations Franco heard about on Twitter were “not accurate.” To Colbert, he vowed, “If I have done something wrong, I will fix it — I have to.”
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