Settlement Reached in Suit Accusing James Franco of Sexual Misconduct
Two former students who filed a lawsuit in 2019 accusing actor and filmmaker James Franco of subjecting them to sexually exploitative auditions and filming at an acting and film school he founded have agreed to pursue their claims against him as part of a previously reached agreement to be dropped this month.
A joint status report filed with the Los Angeles Supreme Court on February 11th said the two women who filed the lawsuit, Sarah Tither-Kaplan and Toni Gaal, had agreed to drop their individual claims against Mr Franco to let. The terms of the settlement were not disclosed.
Details of the February 11 filing were reported on Saturday by The Associated Press. On Sunday, lawyers for the plaintiffs confirmed the settlement, which is to be formalized in a court case at a later date. They did not provide any further details.
Ms. Tither-Kaplan and Ms. Gaal said in a 2019 filing that Mr. Franco intimidated them into performing gratuitous sex scenes while denying them the protection of nude riders when they were students in a sex scenes master class at his school, Studio 4, the worked from 2014 to 2017 with offices in Los Angeles and New York.
According to the lawsuit, Mr. Franco attempted “to create a pipeline of young women who have been subjected to sexual exploitation, both personally and professionally, in the name of education”. The two women said those who cooperated were led to believe that this would earn them roles in Mr. Franco’s films.
Mr Franco’s lawyers did not respond to an email asking for comment on Sunday. Mr Franco has previously denied the allegations.
Mr. Franco’s production company, Rabbit Bandini, and his partners, which include Vince Jolivette and Jay Davis, are also named as defendants. According to the file, the two parties had been discussing an agreement for several months and the progress of the lawsuit had been interrupted. Mr Jolivette’s lawyers did not respond to an email asking for comment.
Other plaintiffs’ claims in the class action are dismissed without prejudice to the terms of the settlement, which means they could be re-filed at a later date, according to the report.
Prior to filing the 2019 lawsuit, Ms. Tither-Kaplan and several other women had accused Mr. Franco of sexual misconduct in a Los Angeles Times story after he won a Golden Globe for his appearance on “The Disaster Artist” discussing Women their experiences with Mr Franco in social media posts they shared during and after the broadcast that took place amid the #MeToo movement.
Mr Franco continued to appear publicly in the days following the allegations, in which he stated that he supported the right of women to declare sexual misconduct, but said the specific allegations about him were inaccurate.
Mr. Franco denied the allegations in an appearance on “The Late Show,” but told host Stephen Colbert, “If there’s a refund, I’ll make it.” I’m here to listen and learn and change my perspective on where the going is. “