*Hat Tip: Stephen S.
It should have been a pure moment of triumph for James Franco. He collected one of Hollywood’s top prizes at the Golden Globe Awards on Sunday, validating an untraditional career in which he’s been a bankable leading man, Ivy League academic and eccentric auteur.
But as he stood on the ballroom stage, some were paying more attention to the Time’s Up pin on his lapel than the gold statue he picked up for his turn in “The Disaster Artist.”
It “was like a slap in my face,” said Sarah Tither-Kaplan, a former acting student at the film school Franco founded who went on to appear in several of his productions.
Tither-Kaplan is one of five women who, in interviews with the Los Angeles Times, accused Franco, 39, of behavior they found to be inappropriate or sexually exploitative. Four were his students, and another said he was her mentor.
In some cases, they said they believed Franco could offer them career advancement, and acquiesced to his wishes even when they were uncomfortable.
“I feel there was an abuse of power, and there was a culture of exploiting non-celebrity women, and a culture of women being replaceable,” said Tither-Kaplan, who was one of many women who took to Twitter on Sunday night to vent anger over Franco’s win.
She told The Times that in a nude orgy scene she filmed with Franco and several women three years ago, he removed protective plastic guards covering other actresses’ vaginas while simulating oral sex on them.
Two other student actresses also recounted negative on-set experiences. Both said Franco became angry when no women, while at the shoot, would agree to be topless.
Franco’s attorney, Michael Plonsker, disputed all of the women’s allegations and directed The Times to Franco’s comments Tuesday night on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert.”
“Look, in my life I pride myself on taking responsibility for things that I have done,” he told Colbert. “I have to do that to maintain my well being. The things that I heard that were on Twitter are not accurate. But I completely support people coming out and being able to have a voice because they didn’t have a voice for so long. So I don’t want to shut them down in any way.”