“Pineapple Express” star James Franco finally acknowledged the sexual misconduct allegations against him in his first interview in nearly four years.
Franco was accused of sexually inappropriate behavior by five women in a 2018 Los Angeles Times article, and two of the women, who were students at his acting school, filed a sexual misconduct lawsuit against him in 2019. He settled with them for $2,235,000.
“Well, in 2018, there were some complaints about me and an article about me and at that moment I just thought I’m gonna be quiet. I’m gonna pause. Did not seem like the right time to say anything. There were people that were upset with me and I needed to listen,” Franco said about his long silence.
He was accused of using a class titled “Sex Scenes” to “create a steady stream of young women to objectify and exploit.” The actor said one of the “stupidest things he did” was giving the class that name.
“It was not about sex scenes. I was not teaching people how to do sex scenes or intimate scenes or anything of that nature. It was a provocative title,” he claimed. “It should have been called Contemporary Romance or something like that.”
But Franco did own up to having sex with his students, though he believed that the acts were consensual.
“Look, I’ll admit I did sleep with students. I didn’t sleep with anybody in that particular class. But, over the course of my teaching, I did sleep with students and that was wrong,” he remarked.
“It’s not why I started the school and I wasn’t the person that selected the people to be in the class. So it wasn’t a master plan on my part. But yes, there were certain instances where, you know what I was in a consensual thing with, with a student and I shouldn’t have been.”
He didn’t take into account the power imbalance he held over the women as a teacher and celebrity.
“I suppose at the time, my thinking was if it’s consensual, okay,” Franco stated. “At the time, I was not clearheaded as I’ve said. I guess it just comes down to my criteria, which was like, ‘If this is consensual, like, I think it’s cool. We’re all adults.’”
He also blamed his actions on being being a recovering alcoholic and sex addict. “Along the road of trying to get success and climb the top of that mountain, attention from women, success with women also became a huge source of validation for me,” he concluded.
“The problem with that is like, like any sort of drug or anything, there’s never enough.”
Watch the interview here: