AceShowbiz - James Franco has clapped back at two former students who accused him of sexual exploitation at his acting school. Months after Sarah Tither-Kaplan and Toni Gaal filed a lawsuit against him, the "127 Hours" star broke his silence over the new allegations, labeling the two women "attention-hungry."
In a legal demurrer he filed, the Academy Award-nominated actor argued, "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 founder of now-closed Studio 4 further accused Tither-Kaplan and Gaal of using the #MeToo and Times Up movements in an attempt to "smear" his reputation. "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," his written objection read.
Addressing Tither-Kaplan's complain about the oral sex scene in 2015's film "The Long Home", Franco's statement noted, "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."
Tither-Kaplan and Gaal were among five women accusing Franco for sexual misconduct in 2018. Speaking to Los Angeles Times, Tither-Kaplan detailed his behavior when they worked together. "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," she stated.
The pair went on to file a lawsuit against the Hollywood star in October 2019. They claimed Franco along with other teachers and instructors at Studio 4 engaged in "inappropriate and sexually charged behaviour" towards female students, and created "an environment of harassment and sexual exploitation."
Back in 2018, Franco addressed the allegations when appearing on "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert". He stated, "In my life, I pride myself on taking responsibility for things that I've done. I have to do that to maintain my well-being. I do it whenever I know that there is something wrong or needs to be changed, I make it a point to do it."