James Franco was not nominated for an Oscar for The Disaster Artist. The film didn’t get nominated for Best Picture either, although it did pick up one nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay. This is being read far and wide as the Academy voters hearing about Franco’s sketchy reputation and believing the women who came forward post-Golden Globes. The Oscar noms just happened to come out on the same morning that a few of Franco’s accusers spoke to Good Morning America as well. They say he was not a Weinstein-level monster/predator, but he was exploitative and gross.
Even those accusing James Franco of sexual misconduct don’t necessarily think he’s a monster.
“James is absolutely not a Harvey Weinstein,” Sarah Tither-Kaplan said on “Good Morning America” on Tuesday. “He’s not an unfeeling monster who has no sense of reality.” However, Tither-Kaplan, 26, does believe that Franco, 39, abused his power and influence when teaching at his Studio 4 film school, which made her and four other women who accused the actor of sexual harassment afraid to speak out for years. “I’m shaking,” she said. “Being an actor and working in this industry has been my dream since I was 5 or 6, and I knew that coming forward with this was risking my career.”
Tither-Kaplan reiterated that when she was in Franco’s sex scenes course at the Studio 4 school in Los Angeles, many women felt uncomfortable with the work.
“There were a lot of scenes that were added after we were given the original scripts that I felt — I wished I had more time to consider them or understand the artistic value of them,” she explained. “A lot of times they seemed gratuitous or exploitative … He created an exploitative environment on his sets.”
Fellow accuser Violet Paley, who was in a consensual relationship with Franco when she claimed he pressured her to perform oral sex on him, detailed the alleged incident.
“He kinda like, pushed my head down and was saying, like, ‘C’mon,’” she said, adding that she knows her relationship with the actor complicates her story. “I am regretful,” she said. “I was young. He was a celebrity I looked up to.”
I don’t think that Harvey Weinstein should be used as the go-to example of “well, he’s not a total Weinstein.” To be clear, none of it is okay. Sexual harassment, exploitation, abuse, assault and rape are all awful and intolerable. You don’t have to be a Weinstein-esque rapist to make women feel unsafe, to exploit women, to abuse women and to do it all under the guise of being a woke ally. That being said, Violet and Sarah have every right to tell their stories wherever and however they want, and to frame their stories however they want. I still believe that we’ll be hearing more about Franco, and that the LA Times piece came out ahead of schedule because Franco won the Globe. My guess is that media outlets have additional stories but they were waiting to see if Franco got nominated for an Oscar.
Photos courtesy of Getty.