Some of Franco’s alleged inappropriate behavior took place within the confines of acting classes run by Franco or on the set of Franco’s films. The class promised students that they might be cast in some of Franco’s films, but the roles rarely came up—and if they did they often involved nudity. Franco’s school, which he started in 2014, suddenly closed in the fall.
Franco, as a teacher and mentor, had a position of power with several of the women, one of whom described an environment where saying no to Franco could get them sent home from the set of a movie. Sarah Tither-Kaplan, who appeared nude in two of Franco’s films and publicly called him out on Twitter Sunday night, said during an orgy “bonus scene” in The Long Home, a movie starring Franco in 2015, Franco removed the protective guard placed on actresses’ genitals while simulating a sex act.
“I got it in my head pretty quickly that, OK, you don’t say ‘no’ to this guy,” Tither-Kaplan told the Los Angeles Times.
Some of the women say that Franco encouraged them to take off their clothes while performing sex scenes and would get mad if nobody volunteered. Some of the scenarios behind Franco’s art films, which some of his students participated in, were described as unprofessional.
Violet Paley, who also posted a tweet about Franco on Sunday, said that she and Franco initially had a consensual relationship but Franco pulled out his penis while they were in her car and pressured her to give him oral sex.
Through his attorney Michael Plonsker, Franco has denied all of the allegations. In the case of Tither-Kaplan, Plonsker used her social media posts while filming The Long Home to demonstrate that she had a positive experience while filming. Plonsker also pointed to Franco’s previous appearance on The Late Show, where Franco said that tweets being made about him were false but he supported women coming forward and promised that “if I’ve done something wrong, I will fix it.”
“The others, in my life I pride myself on taking responsibility for what I’ve done,” Franco told Stephen Colbert. “The things I heard are not accurate, but I completely support people coming out because they didn’t have a voice for so long. I don’t want to shut them down in any way. I think it’s a good thing and I support it.”
Franco also appeared Wednesday on Late Night, where he faced similar questioning from host Seth Meyers, who asked Franco why he hadn’t reached out to Ally Sheedy, who called him out on Twitter with the hashtag #MeToo.
“I have my own side of this story, but I believe in, you know, these people that have been underrepresented getting their stories out enough that I will, you know, hold back things that I could say just because I believe in it that much,” Franco said. “And if I have to take a knock because I’m not gonna, you know, try and, you know, actively refute things, then I will, because I believe in it that much.”
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