James Franco breaks silence on sexual misconduct allegations

James Franco has broken his silence on the string of sexual misconduct allegations made against him in 2018 by five women.

The Spiderman actor opened up about how he’s used the last “four years” to “examine” his past behaviour and “patterns” after stepping back from the spotlight.

The 43 year old star explained he’d chosen to speak up because he’d done “a lot of work” on himself and didn’t want his brother Dave Franco or acting partner and friend Seth Rogen to have to keep “speaking” for him.

His decision to give an interview on SiriusXM’s Jess Cagle Podcast has come after Franco settled with two of his accusers for $2.2million in the ongoing lawsuit early this summer.

Sarah Tither-Kaplan and Toni Gaal sued Franco in 2019 when they alleged he had intimidated them into exploitative sexual situations when they were enrolled at his acting and film school Studio 4, which closed in 2017.

Franco said on the podcast that he’d chosen to stay quiet for so long because he knew he “needed to listen” to all of the women who had made allegations against him.

The Disaster Artist star also said he came to the conclusion that he has used sex in place of his other addictions since getting sober.

Franco told the presenter: “I [was] completely blind to power dynamics or anything like that, but also completely blind to people's feelings.”

The actor then confirmed he did have sex with students at his acting school, but thought it was “cool” because it was “consensual” and the women he had relations with were all “adults”.

Continuing in the interview, which debuts on Thursday, December 23, the actor reflected on his silence.

“In 2018 there were some complaints about me and an article about me and at that moment I just thought I'm gonna be quiet,” he said. “I’m gonna be, I'm gonna pause. Did not seem like the right time to say anything.

“There were people that were upset with me and I needed to listen,” Franco went on, then quoting writer Damon Young who wrote that when questions arise over your actions the natural human instinct is to “just make it stop”.

“You just want to get out in front of it and whatever you have to do apologise, you know, get it done,” he continued. “But what that doesn't do is allow you to do the work, and to look at what was underneath.

“Like, whatever you did, even if it was a gaff or you said something wrong or whatever, there's probably an iceberg underneath that — of behaviour, of patterning, of just being blind to yourself, that isn't gonna just be solved overnight.”

OK! has contacted a representative for Franco for further comment.

The star added: “So I've just been doing a lot of work. And I guess I'm pretty confident in saying like, four years, you know?”

While Franco spoke out about “taking responsibility” at the time of the initial allegations in 2018, he insisted what was being said about him was “not accurate”.

The comedy filmmaker also talked about his battle with sex addiction for the last 20 years, openly admitting he cheated on “everyone” he dated prior to entering into a relationship with his current girlfriend Isabel Pakzad, whom he started seeing in November 2017.

Franco has long been in recovery for substance abuse and has also been getting help for his sex addiction since 2016.

The allegations against Franco came in January of 2018, when five women described sexual misconduct to the Los Angeles Times.

One of the women, Violet Paley, claimed he had once forced her into performing oral sex in his car. The other four women were students at Studio 4.

They claimed he asked women to perform topless or completely naked during their classes as well as on set.

One woman said Franco removed plastic guards from actress' vulvas during a sex scene while simulating oral sex.

After reaching a settlement with Tither-Kaplan and Gaal, who went on to sue Franco, in July, Franco and his production company business partners Vince Jolivette and Jay Davis said via their lawyers they “continue to deny the allegations in the complaint” but “acknowledge that Plaintiffs have raised important issues”.

This was written according to a “public statement” section in the settlement agreement.

“All parties strongly believe that now is a critical time to focus on addressing the mistreatment of women in Hollywood,” the statement continued.

“All agree on the need to make sure that no one in the entertainment industry — regardless of sex, race, religion, disability, ethnicity, background, gender or sexual orientation — faces discrimination, harassment or prejudice of any kind.”

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