James Franco has agreed to pay USD$2,235,000 (which converts to almost $3 million Aussie dollars) in a lawsuit where it’s alleged that he encouraged his acting students to perform explicit sex acts on camera.
According to court filings obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, two former students in Franco’s acting class, Sarah Tither-Kaplan and Toni Gaal, kicked off the lawsuit back in October 2020. In the complaint, they alleged that students taught by Franco at Studio 4 Film School in New York and Los Angeles fell victim to fraud.
Tither-Kaplan was one of five women who spoke to the Los Angeles Times in a January 2018 report where she detailed allegations of Franco’s inappropriate or sexually exploitative behaviour on set.
James Franco has repeatedly denied the allegations.
As part of the settlement, both parties have also agreed to a statement that reads:
“While Defendants continue to deny the allegations in the Complaint, they acknowledge that Plaintiffs have raised important issues; and all parties strongly believe that now is a critical time to focus on addressing the mistreatment of women in Hollywood. All agree on the need to make sure that no one in the entertainment industry — regardless of race, religion, disability, ethnicity, background, gender or sexual orientation — faces discrimination, harassment or prejudice of any kind.”
James Franco has also agreed to “non-economic” terms for the individual plaintiffs, although the specifics of that are currently under seal.
In the lawsuit, a production company owned by James Franco was also named, titled Rabbit Bandini, along with his partners, including Vince Jolivette and Jay Davis, who are defendants in the case.
The proposed deal has been put forward to a Los Angeles judge for approval.