James Franco – the actor best known for 127 Hours and The Disaster Artist – is facing a class action lawsuit with allegations of sexual harassment, exploitation, and discrimination in connection with his acting school, Studio 4.
Although this is the first we’ve seen any legal action taken against Franco regarding these allegations, it’s not the first time the allegations have been reported. In January 2018, the Los Angeles Times interviewed five women who attended Franco’s Studio 4. Each woman discussed separate incidences of sexual exploitation that occurred throughout their education.
One of the women, Violet Paley, recalled an incident in which Franco pressured her to perform sexual acts on him. This pressure remained a common thread in all five of the women’s discussions.
As of October 2019, only one of the women, Sarah Tither-Kaplan, who was interviewed in the Los Angeles Times, took legal action against Franco. Tither-Kaplan and another student of Studio 4 (who is just now coming forward) have filed a class action suit against Franco. According to the suit obtained by New York Times, Franco and respondents “engaged 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.”
In response to the complaint, Franco and his legal team vigorously denied the accusations, and they plan to fully defend against the claims.