Yesterday Ed wrote about actor James Franco’s uncomfortable trip to the Golden Globes and the awkward Stephen Colbert interview that followed. If you missed it, Sunday Franco was accused of sexual misconduct on Twitter by several women but later told Colbert the accusations about him were not accurate. Today the Los Angeles Times published a piece which offers a lot more detail on accusations of “inappropriate or sexually exploitative behavior” made against Franco by five women.
Some of the stories in the LA Times piece involve Franco’s behavior while teaching acting at various acting schools. His classes were attended by actors looking for their first break, some of whom thought that break might come in one of the many low-budget projects Franco was constantly working on. But in reality, several former students say, the only openings available were minor parts that involved nudity.
Hilary Dusome, 33, who took a class from Franco in 2012, said that at first, she found him to be “a really generous spirit” eager to help aspiring actors.
Her feelings shifted after being selected to appear, with a handful of other female students, in what she thought was one of Franco’s “art films.” Natalie Chmiel, the other student, said she was told the footage would be used in a 7 For All Mankind jeans commercial.
Both women described what they considered to be an unprofessional and hostile shoot at a strip club.
Midway through filming, Dusome said Franco approached the actresses — who wore masks and lingerie — and asked, “So, who wants to take your shirt off?”
When no actresses volunteered, Franco stormed off, Dusome recalled.
“I felt like I was selected for something based on my hard work and my merit, and when I realized it was because I have nice [breasts], it was pretty clear that was not the case,” Dusome said
Franco also taught a class on acting in sex scenes. Actress Sarah Tither-Kaplan says she created a short film for the class which featured her topless. She says the video was uploaded to Vimeo by the school and has since appeared on porn sites. Franco’s attorney, Michael Plonsker, claims videos were not uploaded to Vimeo by the school, but the LA Times quotes an email sent to Tither-Kaplan which reads, “just wanted to let [them] know the films are now up on the Studio 4 Vimeo Channel.” Tither-Kaplan does say that Franco apologized to her last year after the Weinstein story became national news. “I want to give him credit for at least being open to communicating with me,” she told the LA Times.
Another actress who criticized Franco last week says he demanded oral sex while sitting in her car. She says she had a romantic relationship with him at the time but that it hadn’t progressed to that point at the time. But Franco’s attorney denies the accuracy of all of the allegations in the LA Times story, calling them “not accurate.”
Is there more, even worse behavior that hasn’t come out yet or will this be it? Now that the accusations are out there, not just on Twitter but in the LA Times, Franco’s future could depend on how many more women read the accounts and come forward with complaints.