A settlement agreement has been reached in James Franco’s lawsuit that alleges the actor-director intimidated students at his acting and film school into sexual situations. While elements of the lawsuit may still be in effect, the document confirming a settlement was filed February 11.
The original lawsuit, which was filed in 2019 by actresses and ex-students of Franco’s Sarah Tither-Kaplan and Toni Gaal, alleged that Franco pushed his students far beyond what was normally acceptable on Hollywood film sets. The students were led to believe that if they went along with Franco’s wishes, they would be more likely to get roles in the filmmaker’s projects.
Franco had previously praised the #MeToo movement that inspired the claims against him. His attorneys responded to the claims, calling them “false and inflammatory, legally baseless and brought as a class action with the obvious goal of grabbing as much publicity as possible for attention-hunger Plaintiffs.” The document doesn’t reveal the amount of money involved in the deal, and parties say they will submit for preliminary court approval by March 15.
Tither-Kaplan made her sexual misconduct allegations public in the Los Angeles Times following Franco’s Golden Globe win for The Disaster Artist in 2018, when the #MeToo movement was making waves in Hollywood. Franco’s generally kept a low-profile since the allegations arose. He’s directed and starred in a few of his own projects, including Future World, Zeroville and The Pretenders, but none of them have reached the levels of praise or attention the filmmaker received for his biopic based on Tommy Wiseau and the origins of the 2003 movie The Room.
Franco spoke briefly on the accusations as well during an interview on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert by calling them inaccurate but saying, “If I’ve done something wrong, I will fix it. I have to.”