James Franco: what did actor say about sexual misconduct allegations - and why won’t Seth Rogen work with him?

Payments were made to Sarah Tither-Kaplan, Toni Gaal and other students of Franco’s acting school, where he allegedly exploited women

In a new interview with Jess Cagle, 127 Hours and Spider-Man star James Franco has broken his silence regarding the sexual misconduct allegations made against him almost four years ago.

During his talk on SiriusXM, Franco discussed his sex addiction, and said that he had “cheated on everyone” prior to his current relationship with girlfriend Isabel Pakzad.

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This is everything you need to know about what was said in the SiriusXM interview, including what Franco said after frequent collaborator Seth Rogen said he “has no plans” to work with him in the future.

What did James Franco say about sexual misconduct?

Speaking to Jess Cagle on his SiriusXM podcast, Franco admitted to having sex with students whilst he was teaching, but claimed that he had not started the acting school to attract women for sexual relations.

Franco said that he was “completely blind” to the power imbalance as a person of authority having sex with students.

James Franco at the 2017 Governors Awards (Photo: VALERIE MACON/AFP via Getty Images)

He said: “Look, I’ll admit it, I did sleep with students. I didn’t sleep with anybody in that particular class, but over the course of my teaching I did sleep with students, and that was wrong.

“But like I said, it’s not why I started the school and I wasn’t the person that selected the people to be in the class. So it wasn’t a “master plan” on my part. But yes, there were certain instances where, you know what, I was in a consensual thing with a student and I shouldn’t have been.”

He added: “I suppose at the time, my thinking was if it’s consensual, okay. At the time I was not clear headed.”

The actor said that he had developed a sex addiction after he became sober following an alcohol addiction that was developed when he was young.

What did James Franco say about the 2018 allegations?

Speaking about his reaction to the allegations at the time, Franco said: “In 2018 there were some complaints about me and an article about me and at that moment I just thought I’m gonna be quiet, I’m going to pause.

“It did not feel like the right time to say anything.

“There were people that were upset with me and I needed to listen.”

James Franco at IFP’s 27th Annual Gotham Independent Film Awards in 2017 (Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for IFP)

He continued: “There’s a writer called Damon Young and he talked about when something like this happens, then the natural human instinct is to just make it stop.

“You want to get out in front of it and [do] whatever you have to do, apologise and get it done.

“What that doesn’t do is allow you to do the world and look at what was underneath.

“Whatever you did, even if it was a gaffe or you said something wrong, there’s probably an iceberg underneath, of behaviour, of patterning, or just being blind to yourself that isn’t just going to be solved overnight.

“I was in recovery before for substance abuse. There were some issues that I had to deal with that were also related to addiction.

“And so I’ve really used my recovery background to kind of start examining this and changing who I was.”

What did James Franco say about Seth Rogen?

During the interview, Franco also discussed his relationship with long-standing collaborator Seth Rogen. The two have worked together on films including Pineapple Express, This is the End and The Disaster Artist.

Earlier this year, Rogen told the Sunday Times that he had no plans to work with Franco again in the future.

A month prior to his interview with the Sunday Times, Charlyne Yi, who co-starred with Franco in the The Disaster Artist, which Rogen co-produced, accused the actor of being a “sexual predator” and Rogen of being his “enabler”.

Rogen said: “What I can say is that I despise abuse and harassment and I would never cover or conceal the actions of someone doing it, or knowingly put someone in a situation where they were around someone like that.”

He added: “I also look back to that interview in 2018 where I comment that I would keep working with James, and the truth is that I have not and I do not plan to right now.”

Rogen confirmed that the end of their professional relationship was “not a coincidence”.

Dave Franco, James Franco and Seth Rogen at The Disaster Artist premiere (Photo: VALERIE MACON/AFP via Getty Images)

In the SiriusXM interview, Franco confirmed that the two were not planning to work together, and described Rogan as his “absolute closest work friend”.

He said: “Of course, it was hurtful in context, but I get it, you know, he had to answer for me because I was silent.

“He had to answer for me and I don’t want that. And so that why, you know, it’s one of the main reasons I wanted to talk to you today is I just, I don’t want Seth or my brother [Dave Franco] or anyone to have to answer for me anymore.”

What did he say about his girlfriend Isabel Pakzad?

In the interview, Franco admitted to having cheated on all his previous partners before his current girlfriend Isabel Pakzad.

He said that he “could never be faithful to anybody” and “cheated on everyone”.

James Franco and Isabel Pakzad at the opening night of Straight White Men in 2018 (Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)

Franco and Pakzad have reportedly been together since early November 2017, however neither Franco or Pakzad have ever commented publicly on their relationship.

They have been seen together in public on a number of occasions, with Pakzad going as Franco’s date to the 2018 SAG Awards.

What sexual misconduct claims were made against James Franco?

In 2018, five women accused Franco of sexual misconduct whilst four of them were students at his now defuct Studio 4 acting school.

Two of his former students, Sarah Tither-Kaplan and Toni Gaal, accused the actor of attempting to “create a pipeline of young women who were subjected to his personal and professional sexual exploitation in the name of education”.

Tither-Kaplan and Gaal, as well as a number of unnamed women, filed a lawsuit against Franco in 2019, alleging that the acting classes existed as a way for the actor to take advantage of young aspiring actresses.

According to the L.A Times, Tither-Kaplan alleged that Franco, while filming a nude orgy scene with herself and several other women, that the actor had “removed a clear plastic guard that covered their vaginas - and continued to simulate the sex act with no protection”.

Earlier this year in June, Franco paid $2,235,000 as a settlement, with $894,000 going to the named plaintiffs and $1,341,000 into a common fund for the rest of the members of the lawsuit.

At the time of the allegations, Franco had said that they were “not accurate”.

In 2018, Franco’s Freaks and Geeks co-star Busy Phillipps wrote in her book This Will Only Hurt a Little that Franco was “a f**king bully” and that after filming a scene where her character had to hit his character’s chest, Franco “grabbed both my arms and screamed in my face, “DON’T EVER TOUCH ME AGAIN!””.

Phillips added that Franco then allegedly threw her to the ground.

Before the 2018 accusations against the actor surfaced, back in 2014, Franco admitted to messaging a 17-year-old girl on Instagram and invited her to his hotel room. Franco was 35 at the time.

Franco addressed the incident on Live with Kelly and Michael where he said he had made a “bad judgement”.

He said: “I guess I’m embarrassed and I guess I’m just a model of how social media is tricky.

“In my position, not only do I have to go through the embarrassing rituals of meeting someone, but sometimes it gets published for the world.”

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