Updated, Jan. 11, 2018: Since two women in the Hollywood industry came forward Sunday night accusing 39-year-old actor/director James Franco of sexual misconduct, more have spoken up. In an exclusive L.A. Times article published this morning, three new women who were students of Franco's — two at Playhouse West in North Hollywood where he taught on occasion and one at the school he founded, Studio 4 — alleged that he "put students in uncomfortable situations beyond the normal parameters of acting class."
Hilary Dusome and Natalie Chmiel, both 33, recounted times where they participated in Franco's projects and felt things went too far. One of these instances was in a strip club. As L.A. Times describes: "Midway through filming, Dusome said Franco approached the actresses — who wore masks and lingerie — and asked, 'So, who wants to take your shirt off?'"
Both women said Franco became hostile when no one volunteered, storming off.
"He just took advantage of our eagerness to work and be a part of something bigger," Chmiel said. "We were all these up-and-coming actors who were so hopeful."
Katie Ryan, who told L.A. Times that she first met Franco at Playhouse West and took classes at Studio 4, said he "would always make everybody think there were possible roles on the table if we were to perform sexual acts or take off our shirts." She also recounted that Franco would send "mass email requests" to her and other students for "a prostitute or a hooker [audition]."
Actress Violet Paley and filmmaker Sarah Tither-Kaplan further spoke to the L.A. Times about the accusations they'd made via Twitter after the Golden Globes Sunday night. Read more about these women's stories on Metro.
Franco's attorney, Michael Plonsker, denied all allegations.
Original Article, Jan. 10, 2018: Sunday night, James Franco took the stage in front of a star-studded crowd (Oprah sitting front row, as she should) to accept a Golden Globe for his lead role in "The Disaster Artist." Neatly fastened on his tux was a TIME’S UP pin, which sparked backlash when a few women came forward with sexual misconduct allegations.
"Cute #TIMESUP pin James Franco," actress Violet Paley tweeted. "Remember the time you pushed my head down in a car towards your exposed penis & that other time you told my friend to come to your hotel when she was 17? After you had already been caught doing that to a different 17 year old?"
Cute #TIMESUP pin James Franco. Remember the time you pushed my head down in a car towards your exposed penis & that other time you told my friend to come to your hotel when she was 17? After you had already been caught doing that to a different 17 year old?— Violet Paley (@VioletPaley) January 8, 2018
In response to some confusion, Paley then clarified that she was an adult at the time, not 17 and that "a lot more details" are coming soon.
thank you for your support ❤️ just to be clear I wasn’t 17, I was an adult. There are a lot more details that will be out soon. Working with people to do it in the best, safest way— Violet Paley (@VioletPaley) January 8, 2018
She later said that it was "hard to come forward" because her and Franco also "had a consensual relationship."
another reason it’s been hard to come forward about this. we did have a consensual relationship as well. unfortunately & fortunately, there are others who went through this same thing as me with him, and worse. I’m glad I am strong enough to speak up for all of us despite trolls— Violet Paley (@VioletPaley) January 9, 2018
Filmmaker and actress Sarah Tither-Kaplan spoke up as well, posting about an alleged "exploitative" contract involving "full nudity" in two of Franco's films.
Hey James Franco, nice #timesup pin at the #GoldenGlobes , remember a few weeks ago when you told me the full nudity you had me do in two of your movies for $100/day wasn't exploitative because I signed a contract to do it? Times up on that!— Sarah Tither-Kaplan🌈 (@sarahtk) January 8, 2018
When asked by another Twitter user whether or not she felt like she had a choice in the matter, she replied, "I one hundred percent did not feel like I had a choice to say no."
She further elaborated in the thread: "Nudity contracts are supposed to have FULL and DETAILED descriptions of nudity required. Sex scenes are supposed to be choreographed ahead of time. Nude scenes are never supposed to be improvised. This was never the case on the films I worked on."
Actress Ally Sheedy, whom Franco directed in a 2014 off-Broadway show, also voiced her criticism in a series of tweets that have since been deleted.
"Why is James Franco allowed in?" Sheedy wrote at the start of the Golden Globes.
"James Franco just won," she then tweeted. "Please never ask me why I left the film/tv business."
"I have no idea what I did to Ally Sheedy," Franco said on "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert," Tuesday night. "I directed her in a play off Broadway. I had nothing but a great time with her, total respect for her. I have no idea why she was upset. She took the tweet down…I don’t know."
As for the specific accusations, Franco referred to them as "the others" and addressed them collectively, saying, "Look…in my life, I pride myself in taking responsible for things I’ve done. I have to do that to maintain my well-being."
"I haven’t read [the accusations.] I’ve heard about them," Franco continued. "The things that I heard that were on Twitter are not accurate, but I completely support people coming out and being able to have a voice because they didn’t have a voice for so long. So I don’t want to ... shut them down in any way."
In terms of the TIME’S UP movement, Franco told Colbert that he's fully supportive, which is why he wore the pin to Sunday's awards. "I support change. I support 50/50 in 2020…I completely believe in that."
"If there’s restitution to be made, I will make it," Franco concluded. "So if I’ve done something wrong I will fix it. I have to."
Paley tweeted that Franco offered her and a few others "an overdue, annoyed, convenient phone 'apology'" weeks ago.
A couple weeks ago, James offered me & a few other girls an overdue, annoyed, convenient phone “apology”. I don’t accept, but maybe some other people’s lives would be made easier if he donated all of his earnings from “The Disaster Artist” to @RAINN01.— Violet Paley (@VioletPaley) January 9, 2018
Earlier on Tuesday, The New York Times cancelled a panel featuring Franco and his brother Dave because of "the controversy surrounding recent allegations," it told The Hollywood Reporter in a statement.
Back in 2014, Franco allegedly tried picking up a 17-year-old on Instagram, which seems to be what Paley was referring to in her tweets. Screenshots of the exchange between the girl and Franco were leaked to the public, E! News reported.
James Franco admitted to attempting to get a 17 year old to go to his hotel room. Everyone who is saying someone "claimed" that it happened is apparently missing that? He. Admitted. That. He. Did. This. This video is so frikkin cringe. https://t.co/hhH3kuzjkf pic.twitter.com/7h5i6PbpKX— Hank Green (@hankgreen) January 9, 2018
On a "LIVE with Kelly and Michael" interview soon after, Franco said, "I guess, you know, I’m embarrassed…I guess I’m just a model of how social media is tricky. It’s a way people meet each other today, but what I’ve learned…you don’t know who’s on the other end."
"I used bad judgment," Franco added, "and I learned my lesson."