James Franco called sexual misconduct allegations against him “not accurate” in a late night interview ahead of the publication of a Los Angeles Times report in which five women accused the actor of abusing his power as an acting teacher and mentor in a sexually exploitative manner.
Appearing on Late Night with Seth Meyers on Wednesday, Franco was asked about the sexual harassment allegations leveled at him on social media after he wore a Time’s Up pin at Sunday’s Golden Globe Awards.
Though Franco called the tweets that he read on the matter “not accurate,” he said that he was choosing not to contradict anyone’s claims because the Time’s Up movement encourages women to be able to share their experiences.
“There are people that need to be heard. I have my own side of this story, but I believe in these people that have been underrepresented getting their stories out enough that I will hold back things that I could say, just because I believe in it that much,” he said. “So if I have to take a knock because I’m not going to try and actively refute things, then I will, because I believe in it that much.”
In the article published in the Los Angeles Times on Thursday, two students claimed the actor would often become angry on set when they would refuse to film topless. Another former acting student at the film school Franco founded said the actor once removed safety guards while filming an oral sex scene on the set of the 2015 film The Long Home.
Additionally, actress Violet Paley recounted her previous social media claims that Franco exposed himself and tried to pressure her into oral sex. Though she said they had a consensual relationship, Paley said: “that time wasn’t consensual.” She also alleged that he told her friend to meet him in a hotel when the friend was 17.
Franco’s attorney, Michael Plonsker, specifically denied each of the women’s allegations, and also cited Franco’s comments on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert on Tuesday as his formal denial.
“Look, in my life I pride myself on taking responsibility for things that I have done,” Franco told Colbert. “I have to do that to maintain my well being. The things that I heard that were on Twitter are not accurate. But I completely support people coming out and being able to have a voice because they didn’t have a voice for so long. So I don’t want to shut them down in any way.”
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After the Golden Globes, a number of women issued claims on Twitter that Franco had sexually harassed them. The Breakfast Club star Ally Sheedy was one of them. In now-deleted tweets, she wrote, “Why is James Franco allowed in? Said too much.” and “James Franco just won. Please never ever ask me why I left the film/tv business.”
Franco struggled to respond when Meyers pressed him on Wednesday about if he had reached out to Sheedy, who worked with the actor in 2014 on his Off-Broadway directorial debut, The Long Shrift.
Shaking his head no, he said, “I had a great relationship with her. She took the tweet down. I don’t know, I really don’t. I don’t know, it was so shocking. I guess I’m just letting it be.”
On Tuesday, Franco told Colbert, “The things that I heard that were on Twitter are not accurate, but I completely support people coming out and being able to have a voice because they didn’t have a voice for so long.”
He continued, adding, “So I don’t want to, you know, shut them down in any way. It’s, I think, a good thing and I support it.”
As for why he wore the Time’s Up pin, Franco shared his thoughts on the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements.
“Well, first, I want to say I wore it because I do support it. I was, you know – look, I was so excited to win, but being in that room that night was incredible. I mean, it was powerful,” he said.
“There were incredible voices, and I support it. I support change. I support 50/50 and 20/20 which just means, you know, people that are underrepresented, women, and people of color, people in the LGBT community get, you know, positions – leadership positions that they fill all positions that they have been deprived of, I completely believe in that,” Franco told Colbert.