James Franco has reached a settlement with two women who sued him for alleged sexual misconduct, lawyers for the plaintiffs said Saturday.
The lawsuit alleged that James Franco put students at an acting and film school he founded, called Studio 4, into “gratuitous and exploitive sexual situations.” Through a class-action lawsuit, the students accused Franco of pressuring the class to perform intimate and explicit sex scenes in an “orgy type setting.”
The class in question was called a masterclass on sex scenes, but many students indicated that it wasn’t about learning to film such scenes.
It was then known that both parties submitted a joint status document to the Los Angeles Superior Court indicating to a judge that a settlement had been reached in the class-action lawsuit filed by former students at the now-closed school. However, some aspects of the suit may remain.
According to reports, the document was filed on February 11, but no information had been previously released about it.
The court file said that actresses and former students Sarah Tither-Kaplan and Toni Gaal, who started the process in 2019, have agreed to withdraw their individual claims. Their lawsuit accused Franco of having pushed the students to act in increasingly explicit scenes that they considered far beyond what was acceptable in Hollywood film sets.
It also claimed that the famous actor “sought to create a pipeline of young women who were subjected to his personal and professional sexual exploitation in the name of education.”
According to the plaintiffs, Studio 4 led the students to believe that Franco’s film roles would be available to those attending the master class. However, the 48-year-old actor’s attorneys called their claims “false and inflammatory, legally baseless and brought as a class action with the obvious goal of grabbing as much publicity as possible for attention-hungry plaintiffs.”
Franco closed the academy in 2017, but the lawsuit was filed two years later.
Both sides had been in discussions about an agreement for months, and the legal process had stopped while they talked. On Saturday night, the plaintiffs’ attorneys at the Valli Kane & Vagnini firm confirmed the settlement by publishing a statement that said it would be “further memorialized in a joint stipulation of settlement to be filed with the court at a later date.”