Several students of The Disaster Artist actor James Franco‘s now-closed acting school Studio 4 have alleged that the school functioned primarily as a place for sexual exploitation. For example, a class on sex scenes, a former student alleged, required students to tape themselves acting out sexual scenarios that were well above the industry norm in order to be selected for the class.
The suit states that “As Plaintiffs experienced and observed, Studio 4 served no other legitimate purposes other than to dupe unsuspecting and often very young ‘students’ out of their money and talent to serve Defendants’ financial and exploitative desires.” In addition, the plaintiffs want to open two cases, one for students that were allegedly sexually exploited and one for the whole Studio 4 student body over claims that the whole school was phony. The claims consist of sex discrimination, sexual harassment, fraud, and false advertising.
In response to these claims, Franco’s lawyer, Michael Plonsker, said “This is not the first time that these claims have been made and they have already been debunked. We have not had an opportunity to review the ill-informed complaint in depth since it was leaked to the press before it was filed and our client has yet to even be served. James will not only fully defend himself, but will also seek damages from the plaintiffs and their attorneys for filing this scurrilous publicity seeking lawsuit.”
As Plonsker’s response above states, these are not the only allegations that have come against Franco. In January 2018, five women came forward in an article by the Los Angeles Times, with detailed scenarios about what they allege went down while they were his students and mentees. At the time, both Franco and his lawyer denied the claims.