By Kelcie Willis, Cox Media Group National Content Desk
Multiple women have come forward to accuse actor James Franco of sexually inappropriate behavior in a new report.
In a Los Angeles Times report published Thursday, five women -- including four former students -- accused Franco of sexual misconduct.
Hilary Dusome and Natalie Chmiel, former students of Franco’s at Playhouse West in North Hollywood, told the L.A. Times that the actor would put female students in uncomfortable situations. The two described a shoot at a strip club in which Franco asked, “So, who wants to take your shirt off?”
The women said Franco stormed off when no one obliged.
Katie Ryan met Franco at Playhouse West and took classes at Studio 4, the film school the actor launched in 2014 that closed last year. Ryan told the L.A. Times, “(Franco) would always make everybody think there were possible roles on the table if we were to perform sexual acts or take off our shirts.”
Violet Paley said she met Franco in 2016 and started a relationship with him when he pressured her into having oral sex. Paley, 23, told the publication the two later continued a consensual sexual relationship.
Sarah Tither-Kaplan, a former acting student, said she signed nudity agreements for each film she did with Franco -- a short film called “Hungry Girl,” which shows her topless, and the 2015 feature film “The Long Home.”
Tither-Kaplan said a producer on “The Long Home” asked her to film a bonus scene of an orgy, in which she appeared fully nude with Franco and other women. According to the actress, Franco was supposed to simulate oral sex, but removed the clear plastic guard during each simulation on the actresses.
Paley and Tither-Kaplan spoke out against Franco on Twitter Sunday during the Golden Globes. Franco was wearing a “Times Up” pin at the awards show, which calls attention to gender inequality and sexual harassment across different industries.
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?— Violet Paley (@VioletPaley) January 8, 2018
Hey James Franco, nice #timesup pin at the #GoldenGlobes , remember a few weeks ago when you told me the full nudity you had me do in two of your movies for $100/day wasn't exploitative because I signed a contract to do it? Times up on that!— Sarah Tither-Kaplan🌈 (@sarahtk) January 8, 2018
Franco denied the allegations while appearing on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” Tuesday.
“Look, in my life,I pride myself on taking responsibility for the things I’ve done,” he said. “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.”
“If I have done something wrong,” he said, “I will fix it — I have to.”
Franco was also asked about the allegations while appearing on “Late Night with Seth Meyers” Thursday. He echoed his remarks to Colbert.
“There are people that need to be heard,” Franco said on the late-night talk show. “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.”
People reported that a person close to the situation says the actor is now laying low.
“He’s in a really bad place, so bad that he changed his phone number,” the unnamed source said. “His close friends are trying to be there for him, but it’s been hard – he’s only talking to a select group of people. For now, he’s just hiding out.”
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