A tentative deal has been reached in a sexual assault lawsuit against actor James Franco.

In 2019, actors Sarah Tither-Kaplan and Toni Gaal launched a lawsuit against Franco and his partners at his acting school. They allege that The Disaster Artist star and his partners engaged in widespread “inappropriate and sexually charged behaviour towards female students”.

They accuse Franco of “sexualizing [his] power as a teacher and an employer by dangling the opportunity for roles in their projects.”

Although the terms of the settlement were not revealed, Tither-Kaplan and Toni Gaal agreed to drop their individual claims against Franco.

Franco and a business partner named Vince Jolivette founded $300-a-month acting school Studio 4. Now closed, it was an acting and film school, which is where the incidents are said to have taken place.

‘Pipeline of young women’

It had branches in Los Angeles and New York.

The suit claimed Franco “sought to create a pipeline of young women who were subjected to his personal and professional sexual exploitation in the name of education.”

Accusers say Franco and others videotaped auditions for sex scenes and told students that Franco would keep the recording, whilst the students had to sign away their rights to their recordings.

Tither-Kaplan and Toni Gaal’s lawsuit says sex scene classes preyed upon “often young and inexperienced females” who “were routinely pressured to engage in simulated sex acts that went far beyond the standards in the industry.”

More accusations

The lawsuit claims that whilst making an orgy scene for one of his films, Franco removed the plastic guards that covered actresses’ vaginas while he simulated oral sex on them.

This is not the first time women have accused Franco of inappropriate behaviour.

Back in 2014, it emerged that Franco propositioned a 17-year-old girl on Instagram after meeting her outside a theatre production he had been in.

Franco acknowledged he had indeed tried to pick her up.

‘Bad judgement’

He said following the accusations: “I’m embarrassed, and I guess I’m just a model of how social media is tricky,”

“It’s a way people meet each other today, but what I’ve learned is you don’t know who’s on the other end. I used bad judgement and I learned my lesson.”

Actress Violet Paley also accused Franco of sexual assault and trying to lure her 17-year-old friend to his hotel room. She spoke out after Franco wore a #TimesUp pin on the Golden Globes red carpet.
She wrote on Twitter: “Cute #TimesUp pin James Franco. Remember the time you pushed my head down in a car towards your exposed penis & that other time you told my friend to come to your hotel when she was 17? After you had already been caught doing that to a different 17 year old?”
She later said: “I was talking to him, all of a sudden his penis was out,” said Paley. “I got really nervous, and I said, ‘Can we do this later?’”
She added: “He was kind of nudging my head down, and I just didn’t want him to hate me, so I did it.”

Franco’s attorney, Plonsker, denied Paley’s allegations, calling them “not accurate.”

In an interview on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Franco said the sexual misconduct stories were inaccurate

But the actor said, “If I’ve done something wrong, I will fix it. I have to.”

Image via Alamy