A settlement has been reached in the sexual misconduct case against Oscar-Nominated actor James Franco.
Sarah Tither-Kaplan and Toni Gaal filed the suit in 2019 but agreed to drop their claims against Franco last week after reaching a preliminary settlement agreement. Tither-Kaplan and Gaal were students of Franco’s Studio 4 acting school and alleged that the actor set out to “create a steady stream of young women to objectify and exploit” via his course on sex scenes. Also named in the suit were Vince Jolivette, Jay Davis and Franco’s RabbitBandini Productions.
The original complaint against Franco was filed shortly after he won a Golden Globe for his performance in The Disaster Artist. Tither-Kaplan and Gaal stated that Franco had intimidated them into performing gratuitous sex scenes without proper protections (such as the industry standard of nudity riders) while they were students in his master class on sex scenes. Franco made a docuseries about the class and posted it on his Facebook page, but those videos have since been removed. However, one is still available on Vimeo. Although the two actors filed their claims against Franco in 2019, Studio 4 only operated from 2014 to 2017.
Before Tither-Kaplan sued Franco, she and several other women accused the famous actor of sexual misconduct in a Los Angeles Times story after he won a Golden Globe in January 2018. Numerous women also took to social media during and after the broadcast and posted about their negative experiences with Franco, which coincided with the height of the #MeToo movement.
Franco stated that he supported the rights of women to call out acts of inappropriate sexual behavior, but he ultimately denied the specific claims against him. It is currently unclear whether or not the settlement between Franco and the two actors involved monetary payments. Nevertheless, the parties have revealed that they plan to file a motion for preliminary approval of the settlement agreement no later than March 15. It was also reported that the claims of other plaintiffs in the Sexual Exploitation Class Action Lawsuit will be dismissed without prejudice but there is a possibility that they could be refiled at a later date.