Facing fresh allegations for the second time in two years, actor and filmmaker James Franco has now been accused of sexual misconduct by female students of a film school where Franco used to teach. The complaints which first surfaced in January 2018 were filed by five women, of which four were Franco’s students. At the time, in an article that published their account, revealed that Franco would walk off film sets in frustration anytime an actress refused to take their tops off for a scene. One student said, “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.”
However, these women chose not to pursue the case legally and instead demanded real change and apology. Now, one of the earlier complainant Sarah Tither-Kaplan, and another student, Toni Gaal, are filing a lawsuit against the Spider-Man actor. In the lawsuit, the women have accused Franco of “widespread inappropriate and sexually charged behavior towards female students by sexualizing their power as a teacher and an employer by dangling the opportunity for roles in their projects.”
The lawsuit is not just limited to Franco but his partners Vince Jolivette and Davis Jay as well. The now defunct school, Studio 4, was “an environment of harassment and sexual exploitation both in and out of the class,” the lawsuit states. The women also revealed that they were made to sign an agreement which allowed their taping during the master class sex scenes. Kaplan and Gaal stated that female students were constantly under pressure “to engage in simulated sex acts that went far beyond the standards in the industry.”
While Franco has not responded to the allegations, his attorney had earlier denied allegations. The women are seeking monetary damages and the return or destruction of any video recordings of former Studio 4 class members in addition to class-action status.