The Hollywood Reporter disclosed on Thursday that a mural painted by James Franco for the high school he attended has been effaced amid growing criticism over sexual misconduct allegations against the Disaster Artist auteur.
The mural in question was reportedly painted in 2014, when Franco, who graduated high school in 1996, composed two murals and hung more than 20 paintings in his alma mater, the Palo Alto High School. Last week, the remaining mural (the other was replaced by student art in 2016) was painted over, a fact the Palo Alto Unified School District so generously confirmed to THR on Thursday.
In January, five women accused Franco of inappropriate and exploitative sexual behavior.
Palo Alto Unified School District Interim Superintendent Karen Hendricks stressed in a statement to THR that the artwork Franco donated was always meant to be a temporary display:
“The school site and district appreciated his donation, acknowledging that the artwork was intended to be temporary in nature and would be respectfully returned or painted over at some point. Related to this, district staff recently considered the best interests of our students in the light of our educational mission, and decided to remove and return the remaining artwork. The second mural was taken down last week; our Latinos Unidos group is working with the Paly ASB and VAPA Department around the concept for a new mural to be painted. Their idea was to celebrate the rich cultural backgrounds and diversity on our campus. We are excited that they came up with this idea, and look forward to helping them with the project.”
The “remaining artwork” cited above is reportedly already being “transitioned” from the space.
The school’s principal, Kimberly Diorio, said in an article published in the student paper, The Paly Voice, on Tuesday that she decided to remove the mural in the student center because “that’s the most visible to the outside community.” Diorio also remarked that it was “kind” of Franco to donate the artwork in the first place, adding “these are still allegations…. I can’t even say it [the decision to replace the mural] is based on fact because he’s denied those allegations and hasn’t been charged with a crime.”