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2-min read

James Franco Accused of Sexual Harassment by Students of Film School Where He Taught

Students claim that James Franco and other male associates used potential film roles as bait and manipulated students while engaging in inappropriate conduct.

News18.com

Updated:October 4, 2019, 4:17 PM IST
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James Franco Accused of Sexual Harassment by Students of Film School Where He Taught
Image: Reuters Pictures

Hollywood actor James Franco has been accused of sexual harassment for the second time in two years by two students of his now-defunct film school Studio 4. The students claim that the actor misused his power to sexually exploit female students. Sarah Tither-Kaplan and Toni Gaal have claimed that Franco and other male associates used potential film roles as bait and manipulated students while engaging in inappropriate conduct.

The two students have filed a class-action lawsuit against the Freaks and Geeks actor, accusing him 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."

As per a report in Pinkvilla, the students claim that the actor would force women to engage in inappropriate acts during auditions or 'sex scene' classes. “Often young and inexperienced females...were routinely pressured to engage in simulated sex acts that went far beyond the standards in the industry,” the lawsuit claimed.

Franco's partners Vince Jolivette and Davis Jay have been also accused. The complaints first came in January 2018 when five women, out of which four were his students, accused him of harassment. An article representing the women said that Franco would force female students to take off their tops and would storm out of classes in frustration when the students felt uncomfortable.

One of the complainants, Sarah Tither-Kaplan, who had also accused the actor in 2018, said that she was a part of an orgy scene in an unreleased film where Franco took off the plastic guards on the women's vaginas and initiated oral sex with them. Gaal also said that she was not allowed to attend the sex-scenes class as she voiced her unease. The students also had to sign off rights to videos recorded when the school was functional. The lawsuit is seeking monetary damages and the destruction of recordings.

James Franco hasn't responded to the fresh batch of allegations. After the 2018 harassment allegations, the actor had said that the complaints were "not accurate."

“I have my own side of this story, but I believe in these people that have been underrepresented getting their stories out, enough that I will hold back things that I could say, just because I believe in it that much. If I have to take a knock, because I am not going to try and actively refute things, then I will, because I believe in it that much,” he had said.

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