A lawsuit was filed on Thursday accusing James Franco sexually exploiting former students of his Studio 4 — his acting school that previously closed down.
The court documents say that the accusers were forced into doing sexual activities that crossed the comfort zone. Those who engaged in uncomfortable situations were encouraged with false promises of acting projects.
Franco’s star power as a television and film actor is undoubtedly appealing to the women who enrolled in his acting school. Upon enrolling, they hoped to work with the celebrity, develop their acting prowess and further their careers.
However, none of these materialized as Franco and his partners allegedly subjected them to sexual exploitation. Most of which occurred during auditions and filming, as reported by The New York Times. Accusers claim that the films were never released.
The lawsuit was filed in the Los Angeles County Superior Court by two women who were Franco’s former students. Sarah Tither-Kaplan and Toni Gaal claimed that the actor’s now-defunct acting program was more of a scheme. They allege that Studio 4 enabled him and his male partners to take advantage of young aspiring actresses.
Franco and his collaborators “engaged 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.”
Their actions, Tither-Kaplan and Gaal said in the lawsuit, “led to an environment of harassment and sexual exploitation both in and out of the class.” The actor has since denied the accusations through his attorney Michael Plonsker who describes the lawsuit as “ill-informed.”