Entertainment

Five women accuse Golden Globe winner James Franco of sexual exploitation, misconduct

Actor James Franco (left) is pictured with Dave Franco after winning the award Sunday night for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture Musical or Comedy during the 75th Golden Globe Awards in Beverly Hills, California. (Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images)

Five women have come out with accusations of sexual exploitation and misconduct against actor James Franco who won a Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Motion Picture Musical or Comedy at the awards show on Sunday, according to an exposé published by the Los Angeles Times.

Franco accepted his trophy for his role in "The Disaster Artist" while wearing a Time's Up lapel pin. The pin is part of a movement in response to #MeToo.

It "was like a slap in my face," Sarah Tither-Kaplan, a former student at Studio 4, the film school Franco founded, told the LA Times.

Studio 4 closed suddenly last fall.

Tither-Kaplan took to Twitter to voice their outrage against the 39-year-old actor.

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Franco's attorney denies the allegations against his client.

What's the story?

Four of the five women who've made accusations against Franco are former Studio 4 students, the LA Times reported.

Tither-Kaplan, 26, appeared in several of the actor's projects.

In "The Long Home," she played a prostitute that required her to be fully nude. She agreed and signed a nudity contract because she thought it would be a big break for her career.

Tither-Kaplan alleged that on the set in May 2015, a producer asked her and some other women if they wanted to film a "bonus scene."

She claims that a handful of women were chosen to appear with Franco who removed the protective plastic guards covering the actresses vaginas while he simulated oral sex on them in a nude orgy scene.

Hilary Dusome, 33, and Natalie Chmiel, 33, both former students described to the LA Times an incident where they maintain that Franco became angry after he asked for volunteers to remove their tops for a scene at a strip club.

When no one volunteered, Franco stormed off the set.

“He just took advantage of our eagerness to work and be a part of something bigger,” Chmiel told the LA Times. “We were all these up-and-coming actors who were so hopeful.”

Katie Ryan, another former student who met Franco at Playhouse West, maintains that the actor “would always make everybody think there were possible roles on the table if we were to perform sexual acts or take off our shirts."

For years, she also claims she received mass email requests from Franco to audition for roles playing "a prostitute or a hooker."

The fifth woman, Violet Paley, said she met Franco in 2016 and he offered to give her notes on a script she'd written.

She alleged that while they were sitting in her car, Franco pressured her to perform oral sex on him.

“I was talking to him, all of a sudden his penis was out,” Paley, 23, told the LA Times. “I got really nervous, and I said, ‘Can we do this later?’ He was kind of nudging my head down, and I just didn’t want him to hate me, so I did it.”

Later, the pair had a consensual relationship, she said, adding that now she would handle the situation differently.

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What does Franco say?

On Tuesday, Franco went on the "Late Show with Stephen Colbert," where he was asked about the tweets and allegations made against him.

He told Colbert that he read a couple of the tweets, but the ones he read were "not accurate."

Franco said he supports the movement and believes there are voices that need to be heard.

“If there is restitution to be made I will make it,” Franco added. “If I have done something wrong, I will fix it. I have to.”

Then, on Wednesday, Franco, who appeared visibly uncomfortable, was put on the spot again by Seth Meyers, host of "Late Night with Seth Meyers."

Meyers didn't hold back with Franco.

He pushed to know why Franco hasn't responded to the accusations and tweets against him, especially the vague references made by Ally Sheedy on Twitter Sunday night.

“Why is James Franco allowed in? Said too much,” Sheedy tweeted during the Golden Globes ceremony.

After winning his award, she tweeted, "James Franco just won. Please never ever ask me why I left the film/tv business.”

Franco told Colbert and Meyers that he'd had a "great relationship" in the past and had no idea what her tweets meant.

Sheedy has since removed the tweets.

“I truly believe, and why I was wearing the pin, is that they [women and others] need to be part of this conversation,” Franco told Meyers about why he wore a Time’s Up pin to the Golden Globes. “So I support that.”

Franco added that he had his "own side of the story" and wasn't planning to" actively refute" the accusations made about him.

One last thing…
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