American actor James Franco has admitted that he had sexual relations with students of the acting school, which he directed. This is the first time he has commented on accusations of harassment.
On Wednesday, December 22, in an interview with SiriusXM, published on his YouTube channel, Franco said that he has struggled with sexual addiction in recent years and has worked to improve his behavior.
“Look, I admit I’ve slept with college girls. I didn’t sleep with anybody in that particular class. But during the course of my teaching, I slept with female students, and that was wrong,” Franco said.
As the actor explained, he thought that if the intercourse was consensual, it was okay.
“There were certain instances where it was consensual, but I shouldn’t have done it. I guess at the time I thought, if it’s consensual, there’s nothing wrong with that,” the artist commented.
In the fall of 2019, two former acting students, Sarah Teter-Caplan and Toni Gaal, filed a lawsuit against Franco alleging sexual harassment, exploitation and coercion.
Specifically, the plaintiffs alleged that Franco taught a “Sexual Scenes” workshop at the now-defunct Studio 4 Film and Acting School and that “student actors were encouraged to perform and improvise sexual acts during the audition process.” The lawsuit stated that Franco was not present at the auditions, but told them to be taped, after which he “hand-selected” his students. It was also alleged that students were “constantly forced to engage in simulated sexual acts.”
In June 2021, Franco agreed to pay $2.2 million in compensation to the girls.