James Franco has reached a settlement with two former Studio 4 students, who had filed a sexual misconduct lawsuit against the actor in 2019.
According to court documents obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, Sarah Tither-Kaplan and Toni Gaal have agreed to drop their previous claims. In case you didn’t know, the two women had accused Franco of engaging in “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,” per People. They also alleged that the situation created an environment of harassment and sexual exploitation in and out of the classroom.
In an article for The Los Angeles Times, Tither-Kaplan detailed how Franco also allegedly did this to four other women, saying:
“I feel there was an abuse of power, and there was a culture of exploiting non-celebrity women and a culture of women being replaceable.”
She went on to claim that the star often removed genital guards while filming oral s*x scenes on the set of the 2015 movie The Long Home. In the lawsuit, the two former students further accused Franco of forcing his pupils to perform explicit scenes on camera in an “orgy type setting” way beyond what was acceptable on most sets, according to THR.
The 127 hours star denied the sexual misconduct allegations in an appearance on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert in 2018, explaining:
“In my life, I pride myself on taking responsibility for things that I’ve done. I have to do that to maintain my well-being. I do it whenever I know that there is something wrong or needs to be changed, I make it a point to do it. The things that I heard that were on Twitter are not accurate, but I completely support people coming out and being able to have a voice because they didn’t have a voice for so long. So I don’t want to, you know, shut them down in any way. It’s, I think, a good thing, and I support it.”
However, once more women came forward on social media, he took a step back from the spotlight. Now, in the status report filed on February 11, per People, the two women reportedly told a judge that a deal was made. Their sexual exploitation accusations are reportedly being dismissed with prejudice, which means they could potentially re-file in the future. The amount of money involved in the deal has yet to be disclosed.
[Image via Brian To/WENN]