James Franco says abuse & exploitation claims ‘tarnished a decent man’s reputation’

A beefed up James Franco reprises his Martino brothers role while filming the final season of The Deuce in Times Square

Months after the Harvey Weinstein stories came to light in the fall of 2017, there were still predators being exposed and even more women telling their stories. It was in January 2018 that the LA Times got the ball rolling on James Franco. There had been stories about Franco’s exploitative behavior for a while, but very few of those stories could be pinned down until the LA Times went digging. They found that several of Franco’s female coworkers felt exploited by his actions, and that he harassed them or made them feel unsafe. There was also a lot of negative energy around his fake “acting school” which just seemed like his hunting ground for young women. Some of those women filed a lawsuit against Franco last fall, and People Magazine got their hands on his demurrer. From People:

James Franco is responding to two women who claim they were sexually exploited by his now-defunct acting school. Franco, 41, filed a demurrer, a written objection to the lawsuit filed in October by Sarah Tither-Kaplan and Toni Gaal, claiming the allegations were “salacious” and that the two were “attention-hungry,” in court documents obtained by PEOPLE.

“While the salacious allegations in the complaint have made great tabloid fodder, they are also false and inflammatory, legally baseless and brought improperly in the form of a class action largely to gain as much publicity as possible,” the demurrer stated. “This lawsuit is a travesty of justice and the culmination of a meritless campaign that has unfairly tarnished a decent man’s hard-earned reputation,” the demurrer added.

The Oscar nominee opened his acting school, Playhouse West Studio 4, in 2014 before it closed in 2017. Tither-Kaplan accused Franco of sexually exploiting her in January 2018 alongside four other women in an article published by The Los Angeles Times. She claimed to the newspaper that Franco removed safety guards while filming an oral sex scene on the set of the 2015 film The Long Home.

“I got it in my head pretty quickly that, OK, you don’t say ‘no’ to this guy,” she said. “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.”

In response to her allegations, Franco’s demurrer said, “Ms. Tither-Kaplan had always expressed gratitude for having been given the opportunity to work in Emmy-nominated productions with Franco, one of her teachers. Tither-Kaplan was so effusive in her praise of Franco that she had posted unsolicited tweets and texts extolling Franco’s virtues, how much she admired him and how much she got out of her time at Studio 4,” the demurrer later stated, adding that Tither-Kaplan “knowingly engaged” in nude scenes with Franco.

“The casting director and others involved with those films have confirmed that all actresses, including Tither-Kaplan, were aware of the nudity scenes ahead of time, that they were constantly checking to make sure the actresses felt comfortable, that they signed nudity waivers, and that no one — including Tither-Kaplan — ever complained,” the demurrer read.

Tither-Kaplan and Gaal’s lawsuit, which they filed in October, accused Franco and his business partners of engaging in “widespread inappropriate and sexually charged behavior towards female students by sexualizing their power as a teacher and an employer by dangling the opportunity for roles in their projects,” according to court documents obtained by PEOPLE at the time.

[From People]

Franco is so sleazy. The accusations “unfairly tarnished a decent man’s hard-earned reputation.” Dude, your reputation was that your “performance artist” and “acting teacher” shtick was used to abuse and exploit young women. Your reputation was gross in the first place, even before the LAT article. The demurrer just emphasizes how he got off on women being “grateful.” So disgusting.

James Franco

Photos courtesy of WENN, Avalon Red.

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29 Responses to “James Franco says abuse & exploitation claims ‘tarnished a decent man’s reputation’”

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  1. HoyaLawya says:

    What reputation??? Didn’t he previously get exposed for trying to pick up a 17 year old?

    • TheOtherOne says:


    • MC2 says:

      Maybe he didn’t get the memo- being a creepy, sexist, predatory sleazeball is his reputation & he did earn it.

    • lucy2 says:

      Thank you! At the end of the article, I was like “but what about him trolling for underage girls online?”
      He has a pattern of, at best, questionable behavior. I don’t doubt he was taking advantage of his position, and I don’t doubt there are others who felt the same but have not spoken up yet.

  2. Andrew’s Nemesis says:

    The man who groomed and abused me as a teen made the same argument in court. He got a suspended sentence as a result.
    To hell with us women: won’t someone think of the mens and the damage to their careers if they’re held accountable, eh?

    This article has got me so ANGRY: it’s as if it’s hotwired to past trauma. Thinking of other Bitchies similarly affected

    • MC2 says:

      I’m so sorry that this story brings up the past for you & that you had to live through that. There are many of us out here with similar stories & it just plain old sucks. Take care of yourself, cuz we all know they system won’t take of us, and I hope you find other supportive women irl. Hugs.

    • Liz version 700 says:

      That is disgusting. I hope Karma hits him hard. A suspended sentence after finding someone guilty of sexual abuse is beyond disgusting. I am so sorry that happened to you and angry on your behalf thinking of it makes me almost lightheaded with anger for all every woman who didn’t/couldn’t get justice

  3. minx says:

    Tool. And I used to like him way back when.

  4. Case says:

    He never had a good reputation lol. A pretty good actor, yes, but he’s always been known to be weird at best and creepy at worst.

  5. Laura says:

    It’s starting to feel like MeToo never happened. The dust has settled and men haven’t done a damn thing to be better and now they’re comfortable saying shit like this because they see that their male colleagues are all still getting away with it. We need to keep talking, keep holding them accountable. Cancel this douche.

  6. Sass says:


  7. Moxie Remon says:

    That is jarring.

  8. Carmen AIC says:

    I thought he was talking about Johnny Depp…

  9. Scarlett says:

    Well it’s a good thing you aren’t a decent man then JF, there is no reputation worth tarnishing lol.

  10. Pineapple says:

    Which man is he talking about? Decent man … that ain’t you dude.

    Ben Affleck – 1, James Franco – 0 … go examine your friggin’ faults tool. Come back contrite and sorry.

  11. Lucy says:

    Destroy. Him.

  12. Mel says:

    Am I allowed to write « f–k off! »? I apologize if I’m not and will let the moderators do what they must.
    Polanski won a freaking Cesar this weekend!
    Franco tried to pick up a 17 year-old girl on line!
    So damn tired of all the mansplaining and the gaslighting where they all twist the situation and present themselves as victims.
    I went to get waxed the other day and my esthetician got yelled at on the phone by a guy because she wouldn’t give him an appointment after 5 P.M. she didn’t tell him why but it’s because she’s alone in the salon and the store next door closes at 5. I told her to give a straight answer next time because that’s one of the reasons there’s no change. Men have been cuddled for too long. Don’t like what I have to say? Too bad for you! That’s not on me!

  13. TheOtherSarah says:

    Which decent man is he talking about??

  14. Ann says:

    The audacity of some of these men. Like a bunch of women were out there plotting his demise and the long-con of it all was a class action lawsuit. How freaking arrogant. Nobody cares enough about James Franco to want to take him down for no reason. What is there to gain? Unlimited access to Seth Rogen? Score!

  15. Meg says:

    “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.”

    “While the salacious allegations in the complaint have made great tabloid fodder, they are also false and inflammatory, legally baseless and brought improperly in the form of a class action largely to gain as much publicity as possible,” the demurrer stated“

    So his response just proved her point, he values fame above all else and seems to assume others feel the same he does about fame

  16. CC says:

    He’s still kind of hot to me. Too bad he seems to be such a terrible person.

  17. Charfromdarock says:

    I can’t cancel him because I’ve never watched anything of his, he has always looked like a sleezeball all to me.

    I’m sure he thinks he is innocent like Weinstein and Pedo Prince do.

  18. Kimberly says:

    cant wait for his day in court…no one believes him.

  19. Laurie says:

    He always looked very sleazy to me.

  20. Oliviajoy1995 says:

    I remember that excerpt that came out from Busy Phillips book where she talks about how he physically pushed her down HARD on the set of Freaks and Geeks and was just abusive in nature. Now all I see is a bully when I look at him.