James Franco will have to answer for much more than admitting he slept with some of his students after the actor gave an interview speaking out about sexual assault allegations for the first time in four years.
Attorneys for two women representing Sarah Tither-Kaplan and Toni Gaal, who each filed sexual assault lawsuits against the “Pineapple Express” actor, 43, in 2009, were unimpressed with Franco’s explanation for his alleged actions and slammed the actor in a statement to People magazine following the interview.
Tither-Kaplan and Gaal agreed to drop their claims after Franco agreed to a $2,235,000 settlement.
“In addition to being blind about power dynamics, Franco is completely insensitive to, and still apparently does not care about, the immense pain and suffering he put his victims through with this sham of an acting school,” the statement from the lawyers to People says.
“It is unbelievable that even after agreeing to a settlement he continues to downplay the survivors’ experiences and ignore their pain, despite acknowledging he had no business starting such a school in the first place.
“This wasn’t a misunderstanding over a course name, it wasn’t the result of him being overworked — it was, and is, despicable conduct,” the statement adds. “Nobody should confuse this interview with Franco taking accountability for his actions or expressing remorse over what happened. It is a transparent ducking of the real issues released just before a major holiday in hopes that he wouldn’t face any scrutiny over his response.”
In a January 2018 Los Angeles Times report, five women accused the Oscar nominee of sexually inappropriate behavior at his acting school, Playhouse West Studio 4, in the North Hollywood area of Los Angeles.
The school closed in 2017.
In the wake of Franco’s response to the alleged incidents in which he admitted to, at times, using his fame as a “lure” to attract students to enroll in the “Sex Scenes 101” course he taught, Franco has reportedly now found himself in the crosshairs of lawyers representing embattled actor Johnny Depp in his long and contentious legal battle with his ex-wife Amber Heard.
Director and star James Franco was accused of sexual misconduct by multiple women. (REUTERS/Mike Blake )
Franco will now have to sit for the deposition early next year and answer questions about what he knew about alleged bruises to Heard’s face, according to Page Six.
Franco was issued a subpoena after surveillance footage showed him entering an elevator with Heard about 24 hours after she and Depp had a huge dust-up. Heard alleged after the fight that Depp gave her a black eye.
Depp has denied the allegations from the jump.
James Franco and girlfriend Isabel Pakzad in October 2019. (Jose Perez/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)
“I have denied Ms. Heard’s allegations vehemently since she first made them in May 2016 … when she walked into court to obtain a temporary restraining order with painted-on bruises that witnesses and surveillance footage show she did not possess each day of the preceding week,” Depp said in his complaint against Heard, according to Page Six. “I will continue to deny them for the rest of my life. I never abused Ms. Heard or any other woman.”
Depp said he filed the lawsuit “not only to clear my name and restore my reputation, but to attempt to bring clarity to the women and men whose lives have been harmed by abuse and who have been repeatedly lied to by Ms. Heard purporting to be their spokesperson.”
Heard’s legal team had claimed Franco lived in the building around the time of the incident and that she and the actor simply took the elevator together. Depp’s attorneys said this is “a lie.”
A trial date is set for April 11, 2022, in Fairfax County, Virginia and is expected to last 12 days.
Reps for Franco did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.