Two of the five women who came forward to accuse James Franco of inappropriate sexual behavior sat down with Good Morning America’s Amy Robach to elaborate on their allegations against the actor and to discuss why they went public.
Sarah Tither-Kaplan and Violet Paley appeared nervous but doubled down on why they chose to come forward, saying that Franco took advantage of his fame and his status to prey on younger women in the acting classes he taught. Tither-Kaplan spoke candidly about her experience in the “Sex Scenes” master class taught by Franco, saying that the scenes in which she participated—added after they had received the original scripts—often seemed “gratuitous” or “exploitative.” Paley was in a consensual relationship with Franco, but elaborated on the incident she tweeted about during the Golden Globes, after seeing Franco’s Times Up pin on his lapel saying that she was “regretful” and that Franco was “a celebrity I looked up to.”
When asked by Robach whether or not Franco’s behavior puts him at the level of Harvey Weinstein, Tither-Kaplan was emphatic in making a distinction between various inappropriate behaviors, offering a nuanced take on sexual assault, violence, and harassment.
“He is not an unfeeling monster who has no sense of reality. He created exploitative environments for non-celebrity women on his sets and I also think James is a talented and valuable person,” she told Robach.“It is a pyramid and at the top is rape and sexual violence and at the bottom are the other abuses of power that when they continue to happen over and over build and build and build and create a culture that allows the most heinous examples of sexual violence and misogny and discrimination to happen and if we allow any of them, we’re allowing all of them.”
Franco’s rep has denied any wrongdoing throughout the entire accusation cycle, telling Good Morning America that the allegations “are not accurate.” Accuracy aside, it seems that Tither-Kaplan and Paley are looking for something so painfully simple that it is truly mind-blowing that he has not been able to produce it: an apology.
When asked what, if anything, Franco could to do to make up for his past behavior, Kapalan suggested that he could use his considerable clout for good instead of evil, by giving “opportunities to women that are real and valulable.” Paley’s suggestion was simple: “Please just apologize,” she said.
Watch the whole interview here.