Charlyne Yi says she tried to break her contract and quit filming Disaster Artist when she learned of the accusations against co-star and director James Franco. Instead of listening to her concerns, she says producers on the 2017 film tried to bribe her with a bigger acting role.
Yi made these allegations in an Instagram post on Friday, implicating Seth Rogen, a producer on the film, in the scheme to bribe her as well.
“I cried and told them ...I didn’t feel safe working with a fucking sexual predator,” Yi wrote. “They minimized and said Franco being a predator was so last [year] and that he changed...when I literally heard of him abusing new women that week.”
Rogen, Yi said in the accompanying caption, “definitely knows about the bribe and why I quit.”
But even before Yi shot Disaster Artist with Franco, there had long been whispers about the actor’s history of inappropriate sexual behavior, stemming from a 2014 incident in which Franco messaged a 17-year-old to ask her to meet him in his hotel room. Franco later admitted to hitting on the teen, chalking it up to “bad judgment” in a television interview: “In my position, not only do I have to go through the embarrassing rituals of meeting someone, but sometimes it gets published for the world,” Franco said at the time.
A few weeks later, Rogen performed an SNL sketch making fun of Franco for what he framed as an “embarrassing” mistake, rather than as something predatory. “I decided to prank James Franco,” Rogen said on the show. “I posed as a girl on Instagram, told him I was way young. He seemed unfazed. I have a date to meet him at the Ace Hotel.”
Yi said was choosing to share her experience now because April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month; subsequent posts on her Instagram feed discuss consent, trauma, and gaslighting, and take Rogen to task for being an “enabler” of sexual harassment and abuse.
“Predators will perform empathy, gaslight, and say they will do better—all in order to protect themselves and continue to harm others,” Yi wrote. “Enablers are just as toxic and are abusers, too.”