The entertainment industry is reacting to new allegations that actor James Franco sexually exploited young actresses who had signed up for his now-defunct acting school, with many calling out the actor for “creepy” behavior and accusing him of co-opting the “Time’s Up” movement for his own gain.
On Thursday, a lawsuit was filed against Franco by actresses Sarah Tither-Kaplan and Toni Gaal, who claimed that the actor convinced students in his acting school to engage in explicit sexual situations by claiming it would help further their careers. As The Hollywood Reporter noted, the woman are claiming sexual harassment and discrimination in the lawsuit, which also names the school’s co-owner and general manager.
The allegations have brought strong reactions from many in the entertainment industry, where Franco was already a controversial figure for past allegations that he sexually exploited young actresses. A Los Angeles Times story published in 2018 reported on the allegations, including interviews with some of the actresses now suing Franco. The actor was also accused of trying to pursue a relationship with an underage girl.
The latest allegations have brought some strong reactions across the entertainment industry. Ernest Owens, an entertainment writer and owner of Ernest Media Empire, spoke out against Franco on Twitter.
“James Franco allegedly charged $750 for a sex scene master class where he requested that aspiring actresses send him audition tapes that they could no longer own the rights to while he and his male collaborators could view,” Owens wrote. “What a f*cking creep.”
Others joined in speaking out against Franco.
Franco also came under fire from the official Twitter page for Time’s Up, the movement founded in 2018 by Hollywood celebrities in response to allegations against Harvey Weinstein. The movement calls for an end to sexual harassment in the entertainment industry and exploitation of actors by those in positions of power and influence.
The Time’s Up Twitter account shared a story about the lawsuit against James Franco, including quotes from the alleged victims, and noted that it is a sign that the industry still has a long way to go.
“These accounts of sexual exploitation, discrimination and fraud are a stark reminder: Sexual misconduct thrives where power is unchecked and imbalanced,” the tweet read.
I can't even imagine how horrifying it was for James Franco's victims to see him standing on the red carpet with a Time's Up pin festooned to his tuxedo. Just gross.— Alecto AKA Sil Lai Abrams (@Sil_Lai) October 3, 2019
Others called out James Franco for his past promotion of the Time’s Up movement. At the 2018 Golden Globe Awards, just days after the movement’s New Year’s Day debut, Franco wore a Time’s Up pin, drawing widespread criticism as he had already faced allegations of sexual misconduct.