Two Women Are Suing James Franco For Alleged Sexual Exploitation

Two Women Are Suing James Franco For Alleged Sexual Exploitation

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The two former students of Franco’s are also suing the actor for fraud

James Franco is named in a lawsuit that alleges he and two other men who ran an acting school, Studio 4, sexually exploited female students. The complaint was filed yesterday in a Los Angeles Superior Court by two former students of the now-closed acting school.

The women say Franco and his partners subjected them to sexually exploitative auditions and film shoots, while assuring them roles in movies that never materialized or were never released.

According to the New York Times, Sarah Tither-Kaplan and Toni Gaal say Franco and his business partners “engaged in widespread inappropriate and sexually charged behavior towards female students by sexualizing their power as a teacher and an employer by dangling the opportunity for roles in their projects.” The suit says these actions are what “led to an environment of harassment and sexual exploitation both in and out of the class.”

Studio 4 opened in 2014, and Tither-Kaplan was one of the school’s first students. Apparently Franco taught a class called “Sex Scenes.” According to the complaint, students had to audition for the class rather than just register for it, for an additional cost of $750.

“I really respected him as an actor, and the fact that I was selected based off of an audition meant to me that I was valued for my talent,” Tither-Kaplan tells NPR.

This isn’t the first time Franco has made headlines for abusive behavior — Busy Philipps says he assaulted her on the set of Freaks and Geeks back when the two were co-stars on the short-lived show.