James Franco’s attorneys have asked a Los Angeles county superior court to dismiss a sexual assault lawsuit filed against him, claiming his accusers wanted to “jump on the [#MeToo] bandwagon.” Yes, makes sense, women love reporting assault and having their reputations ripped apart in real time.
Sarah Tither-Kaplan and Toni Gaal filed the suit in October, alleging that at Franco’s now-shuttered film and acting school, students were pressured to perform “simulated sex acts” that “went far beyond the standards in the industry.” They were also forced to simulate sex scenes with Franco, according to the suit, during which Franco allegedly removed coverings over women students’ genitals. The Guardian reports that Franco’s attorneys claim none of the events depicted in the suit ever happened.
“The salacious allegations in the complaint have made great tabloid fodder, but like most tabloid stories, they are false and inflammatory, legally baseless and brought as a class action with the obvious goal of grabbing as much publicity as possible for attention-hungry plaintiffs,” Franco’s attorneys wrote in their filings.
Tither-Kaplan and Gaal stand by their suit:
In a statement the plaintiff’s lawyer James Vagnini rebutted the filing. “Mr. Franco’s aggressive effort to position himself as the victim and smear the reputation of the survivors who have come forward is, unfortunately, a tactic commonly used by perpetrators of wrongdoing … We firmly believe Mr Franco’s claims to be without merit and we are confident that, as we work through the legal process and hear from numerous other witnesses and survivors, we will achieve full justice.”
Multiple women, Tither-Kaplan and Gaal included, came forward to accuse Franco of misconduct as far back as 2018; rumors floated about his alleged bad behavior before that, he once inappropriately DMed a 17-year-old on Instagram, and Busy Phillips has spent years describing an incident in which Franco allegedly physically assaulted her.