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James Franco Agrees to $2.2M Settlement in Sexual Misconduct Suit

— July 1, 2021

James Franco recently agreed to settle a sexual misconduct suit for $2.2 million.

James Franco was hit with a lawsuit back in October 2019 over allegations that he “intimidated students at an acting and film school he founded into gratuitous and exploitative sexual situations.” After years of back and forth, Franco, his production company, and his co-defendants, Rabbit Bandini, Vince Jolivette, and Jay Davis, recently agreed to pay $2.2 million to settle the dispute.

Handshake; image courtesy of Shutterbug75 via Pixabay,

The settlement was agreed to back in February, but it took a few months to hammer out the details and the dollar amount. 

The suit was originally filed by former students Sarah Tither-Kaplan and Toni Gaal, but over time they were joined by others. In the suit, the plaintiffs argued that “at his now-defunct school, Studio 4, Franco pushed his students into performing in increasingly explicit sex scenes on camera in an ‘orgy type setting’ that went far beyond those acceptable on Hollywood film sets.”

The suit further alleged that Franco “sought to create a pipeline of young women who were subjected to his personal and professional sexual exploitation in the name of education. On top of that, it alleged the “students were led to believe roles in Franco’s films would be available to those who went along.”

In addition to the settlement, both parties released the following statement:

“While Defendants continue to deny the allegations in the Complaint, they acknowledge that Plaintiffs have raised important issues; and all parties strongly believe that now is a critical time to focus on addressing the mistreatment of women in Hollywood…All agree on the need to make sure that no one in the entertainment industry — regardless of sex, race, religion, disability, ethnicity, background, gender or sexual orientation — faces discrimination, harassment or prejudice of any kind.”

At the moment, the settlement included non-economic terms, though those have not been made public. The final agreement has been submitted to a Los Angele judge and is awaiting final approval. 

Back before the suit was filed, Tither-Kaplan was vocal about her “allegations of sexual misconduct against Franco along with other women in the Los Angeles Times after Franco won a Golden Globe Award for “The Disaster Artist” in early 2018.” Around that same time, the #MeToo movement was blazing through Hollywood. Franco is a well-known actor who has starred in comedies with Seth Rogan. However, since the allegations surfaced, he has kept a low profile. During an interview on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Franco said the allegations against him were inaccurate and stated:

“If I’ve done something wrong, I will fix it. I have to.”


James Franco agrees to $2.2 million settlement of sexual misconduct suit

Settlement Deal Reached in James Franco Sexual Misconduct Suit

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