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James Franco Reaches Settlement in Sexual Exploitation Lawsuit

Multiple students at actor’s defunct acting school filed class-action lawsuit in October 2019

James Franco

AFP via Getty Images

James Franco has reached a settlement in a class-action lawsuit brought forth by students that attended his acting school and accused the actor of sexually exploiting them.

The Associated Press reports that Franco’s legal team and the plaintiffs informed a Los Angeles Superior Court on February 11th that both sides had reached an agreement, although the terms of the settlement were not revealed. As part of the settlement, the two women who initiated the lawsuit agreed to drop their individual claims against the actor.

In the original lawsuit, filed in October 2019, Franco and his partners in the now-defunct school were accused of “engaging in widespread inappropriate and sexually charged behavior towards female students by sexualizing their power as a teacher and an employer by dangling the opportunity for roles in their projects.”

Franco was also accused of making perspective students enroll in a “sex scenes masterclass” and film videotaped auditions with the understanding that Franco would remain in possession of the tapes; the students also had to sign away their rights to the recordings.

At the time of the lawsuit’s filing, Franco’s attorney Michael Plonsker denied the allegations, “This is not the first time that these claims have been made and they have already been debunked. We have not had an opportunity to review the ill-informed Complaint in depth since it was leaked to the press before it was filed and our client has yet to even be served. James will not only fully defend himself, but will also seek damages from the plaintiffs and their attorneys for filing this scurrilous publicity seeking lawsuit.”

Franco last appeared onscreen in 2019’s Zeroville, a film he directed, as well as the final season of HBO’s The Deuce.

From Rolling Stone US