Two former acting students are suing James Franco over allegations of sexual exploitation.
Two former students of Franco’s now-closed acting school Studio 4 allege in a lawsuit filed October 3, 2019, that the school created “a steady stream of young women to objectify and exploit.” Additional defendants include Franco’s business partners Vince Jolivette and jay Davis, and Franco’s studio Rabbit Bandini.
The suit, brought by plaintiffs Toni Gaal and Sarah tither-Kaplan, focuses on a $750 master class, taught by Franco, called Sex Scenes. The lawsuit alleges actors were encouraged to participate in nude, taped auditions for Franco to review and to perform in scenes that were “exploitative.”
“James Franco and the other Defendants…opted to sexualize their power and fame by dangling opportunity to aspiring actors of employment in film and television in exchange for explicit nudity, sex, and as Franco put it, the ‘pushing the boundaries,’” the lawsuit stated.
Franco’s lawyer has denied the allegations, calling them “scurrilous” and “publicity-seeking.”
In January 2018, Franco was publicly accused of sexually inappropriate behavior by five women, including Tither-Kaplan. He denied those accusations at the time.
The October 3 lawsuit seeks unspecified damages, an apology, and the destruction of videos Franco might have of the women in the class.