James Franco To Pay More Than $2.2 Million In Class Action Sexual Misconduct Settlement
In the continuation of what has already been a fantastic week for once-beloved Hollywood staples accused of sexual misconduct, actor James Franco has agreed to pay more than $2.2 million as a part of a settlement with several former students who accused the star of sexual misconduct, including allegedly pressuring them into performing graphic sex scenes.
In October 2020, Sarah Tither-Kaplan and Toni Gaal sued Franco, their former teacher, claiming in the lawsuit that the star and his acting school colleagues “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." Many of these projects never came to fruition or were released, they say, adding that Franco's actions “led to an environment of harassment and sexual exploitation both in and out of the class.”
While normally, the results of such litigation would remain private, considering that the suit against Franco is a class action suit, the judge needs to take into account beneficiaries that have not appeared in court, The Hollywood Reporter noted. So what, exactly does the settlement entail? According to the publication, while the majority of the money in the question will go towards legal fees, with Tither-Kaplan receiving roughly $447,00 and Gall ending up with $149,000, the remaining $1.341 million will go towards other students who Franco allegedly abused.
Although The Disaster Artist star continually denies wrongdoing, both parties agreed to the settlement, a sentiment noted in court documents. “While Defendants continue to deny the allegations in the Complaint, they acknowledge that Plaintiffs have raised important issues; and all parties strongly believe that now is a critical time to focus on addressing the mistreatment of women in Hollywood" reads part of the complaint, per the entertainment outlet. "All agree on the need to make sure that no one in the entertainment industry — regardless of race, religion, disability, ethnicity, background, gender or sexual orientation — faces discrimination, harassment or prejudice of any kind.”
So, folks, it's been a long, exhausting week. Please look out for the survivors in your life.