Five women have stepped forward to accuse actor-director James Franco of sexually exploitative or inappropriate behavior, the Los Angeles Times reported Thursday.
One former student at Franco’s Studio 4 acting school, Sarah Tither-Kaplan, told the Times she was cast as a prostitute in an as-yet-unreleased featured called “The Long Home” and then asked to perform a “bonus scene” depicting an orgy in which Franco would simulate oral sex on several women.
Tither-Kaplan claimed that Franco removed a clear plastic guard that covered their vaginas — and continued to simulate oral sex with no protection — an account another actress on set confirmed to the Times.
Reps for Franco did not immediate respond to TheWrap’s request for comment. But his attorney, Michael Plonsker, disputed the women’s accusations and pointed to the actor’s comments on Tuesday’s “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” after some of the claims first surfaced.
“Look, in my life I pride myself on taking responsibility for things that I have done,” he told Colbert. “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 shut them down in any way.”
“If I have done something wrong,” he added, “I will fix it — I have to.”
Four of the accusers were students at the Studio 4 acting school that Franco launched in 2014 which abruptly shuttered last fall but which promised participants the opportunity for roles in Franco’s many low-budget indie and art film projects. A fifth told the Times she considered him a mentor.