As we heard more and more about the allegations against alleged abusive pieces of gutter trash like Marilyn Manson, Armie Hammer, and Shia LaBeouf, James Franco has probably been nervously looking at the sky while whistling in the corner, hoping that nobody mentions him again. But we’ve got an update on the allegations that James Franco is a creepy predator. James has settled the lawsuit that claimed he sexually harrassed students of his now-dead acting school and used his power to push them into sexual situations they weren’t comfortable with. So basically, James is alleged to be the real-life version of the creepy director who Coco “auditions” for in the Fame movie. Well, James Franco has quietly settled that lawsuit.
In 2019, Sarah Tither-Kaplan and Toni Gaal, who were students at James’ acting school Studio 4, filed a sexual misconduct lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court against him, the school, his production company Rabbit Bandini, and his business partners Vince Jolivette and Jay Davis. The class-action lawsuit claimed that one of James’ classes, a Master Class in Sex Scenes, really should’ve been called a Master Class in Predatory Creepery, because he allegedly used that class to prey on female students and pressured them into doing simulated sex acts that crossed the line of industry standards. The lawsuit noted that Professor Perv McCreepy “sought to create a pipeline of young women who were subjected to his personal and professional sexual exploitation in the name of education.” Students of the class were also led to believe that James would cast them in one of his movies if they did as he said. Sarah was cast in a James Franco movie that never came out, and claimed that an orgy scene went way too far and that he removed the plastic guards that covered the actresses’ vaginas.
At the time, James Franco denied it all and said that his accusers were “jumping on the #metoo bandwagon” and using the lawsuit to get publicity for themselves. James not only vowed to fight the accusations but said he was going to go after damages from Sarah and Toni for trying to destroy his pristine reputation. Today, the Associated Press reports that both sides reached a tentative agreement and settled on February 11. Under the settlement, Sarah and Toni agreed to drop their individual claims, but James Franco shouldn’t totally let out a gross sigh of relief, because other plaintiffs in the lawsuit may be able to re-file in the future. via AP:
The two sides filed a joint status report in Los Angeles Superior Court telling a judge a settlement had been reached in the class-action lawsuit brought by former students at the now-defunct school, Studio 4, though elements of the lawsuit may live on.
The two sides had been in discussions on a settlement for several months, and the lawsuit’s progress had been paused while they talked.
The sexual exploitation allegations of other plaintiffs in the class action will be dismissed without prejudice, meaning they may be re-filed, the joint status report said.
Fraud allegations brought by those plaintiffs will be “subjected to limited release,” the document says, without further details or explanation.
Sarah Tither-Kaplan and Toni Gaal were seeking unspecified damages and wanted all recordings of the sex scenes to be destroyed. It’s not known if money was involved in the settlement. The agreement will be submitted for preliminary court approval by March 15.
Of course, Sarah and Toni’s accusations aren’t the only sleazy horror stories we’ve heard about James Franco. Busy Philipps wrote in her memoir that James physically attacked her on the set of Freaks and Greeks. And when James won a Best Actor Golden Globe for The Disaster Artist in 2018, Ally Sheedy called him out in now-deleted-tweets as the reason why she left Hollywood. Not to mention the time James tried to pick up a 17-year-old girl on Instagram.
Besides The Deuce (and DO NOT ask Maggie Gyllenhaal about his involvement in that show), James’ recent career has been filled with turd-scented flops. So now that this lawsuit has been settled, you know he’s going to try for a big Hollywood comeback. That’ll be hard since I bet every door in Hollywood has been shut in his face, and of course, I mean the opposite of that. I’m sure Seth “I Would Work With James Franco Again” Rogen is already pitching the next two hundred Rogen/Franco movies to the studios as I type this.