James Franco recently picked up a Golden Globe for his work in The Disaster Artist, but following his win, a number of women, including actress Ally Sheedy, came forward accusing him of or alluding to various incidents of misconduct.
Among these was actress Sarah Tither-Kaplan, who claimed that after she agreed to appear fully nude in one of the actor-slash-director’s projects, he removed clear plastic guards that had been placed over the genitals of actresses in the scene before simulating oral sex.
On Thursday night, Franco won a Critics Choice Award for The Disaster Artist, but skipped the ceremony entirely, with a source close to him telling US publication People:
“He’s in a really bad place, so bad that he changed his phone number. 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.”
Prior to going into hiding, Franco appeared on various late night talk shows to address the controversy, telling Seth Meyers that, while he maintains that the accusations made against him on Twitter are false:
“… there are people that need to be heard. 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. 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.”
Earlier today, HBO and producer David Simon made statements indicating that they intend to stand behind James Franco, telling trade publication Deadline that work on his porn industry drama The Deuce will continue as normal.
The Deuce, which tells the story of the legalisation and rise of the adult film industry in New York in the 1970s, was recently picked up for a second season, although some questioned whether Franco, who plays a pair of twin brothers on the show, would continue to be involved.
In its statement, the network simply said that: “We have verified that no complaints about Mr. Franco have come in on The Deuce production.” Producer and creator Simon made a lengthier statement concerning the ongoing media coverage, saying:
“I am still reading it the same as everyone else, trying to discern what is or isn’t there. Personally, I can only speak knowledgeably to The Deuce. I’ve checked with all my fellow producers and other personnel. We have no complainant or complaint or any awareness of any incident of concern involving Mr. Franco. Nor has HBO been approached with any complaint. In our experience, he was entirely professional as an actor, director and producer.”
Image: Getty Images / Philip Faraone