James Franco Reportedly Settles Sexual Harassment Lawsuit
The title of James Franco's master class in acting was "Sex Scenes." Students paid $750 for the personal instruction in which they were encouraged to "push the boundaries." But a 2019 lawsuit filed by two female students said it was Franco himself who violated those boundaries.
Now, the students have reached a tentative settlement with Franco in their class-action lawsuit against him, his production company and his acting school colleagues.
Sarah Tither-Kaplan and Toni Gaal said that Franco's classes purported to coach acting students how to professionally handle movie sex scenes, with possible roles in Franco’s films to follow.
Instead, as alleged in their complaint, Franco's now-defunct Studio 4 school would push female students to perform in explicit sex scenes in an "orgy type setting." They further argued that Franco "sought to create a pipeline of young women who were subjected to his personal and professional sexual exploitation in the name of education."
Attorneys for the plaintiffs now say they have reached a tentative settlement with Franco and several of his colleagues. Terms were not divulged.
Franco's attorneys have not commented on the potential settlement but previously said the actor was innocent. In a statement made to NPR at the time the lawsuit was filed, his attorney said, "James will not only fully defend himself but will also seek damages from the plaintiffs and their attorneys for filing this scurrilous, publicity-seeking lawsuit."
But in a 2018 appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, after the allegations first surfaced, Franco said, "If there's restitution to be made, I will make it. I'm here to listen and learn and change my perspective where it's off."
A March hearing could finalize the deal but other potential victims could still pursue cases against him.