James Franco has addressed the sexual misconduct allegations against him for the first time.
In late December, the actor appeared on SiriusXM’s The Jess Cagle podcast to talk about the accusations made against him in 2018. At the time, five women had accused Franco of sexual misconduct and exploitation while four of them were taking classes at his acting school, Studio 4. The school has since closed.
“The stupidest thing I did, or one of the stupidest things I did, at the school was I called one of my classes — a masterclass — ‘Sex Scenes.’ It was not about sex scenes. I was not teaching people how to do sex scenes or intimate scenes or anything of that nature,” he said. “It was a class where they did scenes about whatever their romance is. What they go through as young people. So meeting people on dating apps, or breakups or just a bad date — stuff like that. That’s what was being done in that class. It was not sex scenes.”
He went on to admit to having sexual relations with students: “Over the course of my teaching, I did sleep with students and that was wrong. But like I said, it’s not why I started the school and I didn’t — I wasn’t the person that selected the people to be in the class. So it wasn’t a master plan on my part.”
He also stated that because the relationship was “consensual,” he had thought light of his actions.
“I suppose at the time, my thinking was if it’s consensual, okay. Of course I knew, you know, talking to other people, other teachers or whatever, like, yeah, it’s probably not a cool thing,” he shared. “At the time I was not clearheaded, as I’ve said. I guess it just comes down to my criteria was like, if this is consensual, like, I think it’s cool. We’re all adults, so…”
According to the Pineapple Express star, sex and alcohol addiction was part of his struggle. “I’ve just been doing a lot of work and I guess I’m pretty confident in saying four years? I was in recovery before for substance abuse,” he shared. “There were some issues that I had to deal with that were also related to addiction. And so I’ve really used my recovery background to kind of start examining this and changing who I was.”
“The behavior spun out to a point where it was like I was hurting everybody,” he added.
Franco has since settled the sexual misconduct lawsuit for $2 million. The women who brought forth the suit criticized his interview, calling it “insensitive” and “unbelievable.”
“Nobody should confuse this interview with Franco taking accountability for his actions or expressing remorse over what happened. It is a transparent ducking of the real issues released just before a major holiday in hopes that he wouldn’t face any scrutiny over his response,” attorneys at Valli Kane & Vagnini LLP and Hadsell, Stormer Renick & Dai LLP said in a statement to Variety on behalf of their clients.
Art Daniella Sison