James Franco agrees to pay $2.2million settlement for sexual misconduct suit

James Franco has agreed to pay $2.2million to settle two lawsuits that he is involved in.

One is from two former students of his acting school who have alleged that Franco had subjected them to exploitative auditions and film shoots. However in the proposed settlement, Franco did not admit to any wrongdoing.

The actor has repeatedly denied sexual misconduct allegations that have been made against him. In 2018, the LA Times released a report in which five women went on record to accuse Franco of inappropriate or sexually exploitative behaviour on set.

One of those women, Sarah Tither-Kaplan, is involved in the lawsuit with fellow former student Toni Gaal. Both have also alleged that students of Franco’s Studio 4 Film School were victims of fraud.

James Franco
James Franco (Photo by Taylor Hill/WireImage)

The sexual misconduct lawsuit first reached a settlement deal in February, as first reported by The Hollywood Reporter. It will now go before a Los Angeles judge for approval. It has said that Tither-Kaplan will receive $670,500 from the settlement (minus $223,500 for lawyers’ fees), Gaal will receive $223,500 with $74,500 in legal fees. The remaining $1.341m will go to other students, minus $827,000 for lawyers. Unclaimed money will be donated to the National Women’s Law Center.

A statement as part of the settlement has been agreed to by the parties. It reads in part: “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.”

The sexual misconduct lawsuit was filed in 2019. Tither-Kaplan and Gaal had alleged that Franco pressured students into performing explicit sex scenes on camera in an “orgy type setting” that went far beyond what is practiced on Hollywood film sets.

It also 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,” and students were led to believe that roles in Franco’s films would be made available to those who complied.

Since the allegations have come to light, several of Franco’s former co-stars have spoken out against him.

Busy Philipps has said she will not work with Freaks and Geeks co-star James Franco again. “I wouldn’t want to work with someone who has multiple allegations of predatory behaviour,” she said on The Daily Beast‘s The Last Laugh podcast.