Two women who accused James of sexual misconduct slammed the sector for continuing to “ignore their pain” after the actor said he was wrong to sleep with students.
Toni Gaal and Sarah Tither-Kaplan, who reached a $2 million settlement with James over his alleged behavior in 2020, bashed the actor for his Wednesday SiriusXM interview, where he talked about struggles with sex addiction and “consensual” liaisons with his students.
“In addition to being blind about power dynamics, Franco is completely insensitive to, and still apparently does not care about, the immense pain and suffering he put his victims through with this sham of an acting school,” lawyers for the plaintiffs wrote in a statement, according to People Magazine.
“It is unbelievable that even after agreeing to a settlement, he continues to downplay the survivors’ experiences and ignore their pain, despite acknowledging he had no business starting such a school in the first place,” the statement reportedly continued. “Nobody should confuse this interview with Franco taking accountability for his actions or expressing remorse over what happened.”
James started Playhouse West Studio 4 acting school in Los Angeles and New York in 2014 before shuttering it three years later amid the accusations. He broke a four-year silence about the issue to radio host Jess Cagle, telling him, “over the course of my teaching, I did sleep with students, and that was wrong.”
“But as I said, I, it’s not why I started the school and I, I didn’t, 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,” the “Freaks and Geeks” actor turned movie star, and director said.
James was never charged with a sex crime.