James Franco has reached a settlement in the sexual misconduct suit filed against him in 2019, by two former acting school students who accused him of sexual harassment and exploitation.
The agreement—the terms of which have not been publicly disclosed—was reached earlier this month, according to a New York Times report, requiring both women to drop their claims against Franco.
In the suit, Sarah Tither-Kaplan and Toni Gaal said they believed Franco established the since-shuttered acting school he founded for the purposes of attracting young women for he and his colleagues to prey on. The result, they alleged, was “an environment of harassment and sexual exploitation both in and out of the class” and “widespread inappropriate and sexually charged behavior towards female students.” This allegedly included pressuring students to engage in “simulated sex acts” that were recorded. Students were allegedly made to “sign away their rights” to the tapes.
Tither-Kaplan and Gaal said Franco and the other instructors of “sexualiz[ed] their power as a teacher and an employer by dangling the opportunity for roles in their projects.” These roles failed to materialize, according to their suit. (Franco has denied these allegations through his lawyer.)
Tither-Kaplan and Gaal are just two of multiple women who have accused Franco of sexual misconduct, allegations that began to surface in 2014. Tither-Kaplan was moved to come forward with her account when she saw Franco appear at the 2018 Golden Globes wearing a Time’s Up pin on the lapel of his suit.
After watching the award show, Tither-Kaplan told the Los Angeles Times: “I feel there was an abuse of power, and there was a culture of exploiting non-celebrity women, and a culture of women being replaceable.”