James Franco agrees to settle sexual-misconduct case for $2.2 million
James Franco has agreed to settle a legal case, which accused him of sexual misconduct, by paying $2.2mn (roughly Rs. 16.4cr). The lawsuit was filed by Sarah Tither-Kaplan and Toni Gaal, two former students at the 127 Hours actor's now-defunct acting school, Studio 4. News of the settlement was reported in February this year, but the details of the deal were released just recently.
The court filings made public recently say Franco denies the allegations and once the deal gets approved by the judge, both parties (defendants and plaintiffs) would release a joint statement saying the same. There are some "non-economic" terms in the settlement that have not been made public. Franco's production firm Rabbit Bandini and business partners (Vince Jolivette and Jay Davis) are also defendants.
"While Defendants continue to deny the allegations in the Complaint, they acknowledge that Plaintiffs have raised important issues. All agree on the need to make sure that no one in the entertainment industry...faces discrimination, harassment or prejudice of any kind," the joint statement would read.
Tither-Kaplan and Gaal first filed the lawsuit in October 2019, which was later joined by many others. They alleged Franco abused his power at Studio 4 by dangling opportunities for roles in his movies. The Homefront actor allegedly forced female students to do orgy scenes with him and removed protective guards used to cover the genitals. He was also accused of simulating oral sex.
To note, before filing the lawsuit, Tither-Kaplan and others had first voiced out their allegations after Franco won a Golden Globe Award for The Disaster Artist in early 2018. In fact, his co-star in the film, actress Charlyne Yi also accused him of being a sexual predator. She even alleged Seth Rogen, Franco's longtime friend and one of this film's producers, "enabled" such behavior.
Soon after Yi's public call-out, Rogen told The Sunday Times he has not worked with Franco since the allegations broke and didn't plan to in the future as well. This was contrary to his earlier statements. However, Yi refused to let the comedian distance himself easily. She posted a checklist on Instagram for Rogen to follow. It included apologizing to survivors and hiring them.