James Franco has admitted that he was sleeping with students of an acting school he ran previously, saying he struggled with “sex addiction” and has been working to improve his behavior in recent years.
On Wednesday, excerpts from The Jess Cagle Podcast made public, James Franco, 43, said that while teaching, he “did sleep with students, and that was wrong.” He said he had not started the school to use women for sexual purposes.
“I suppose at the time, my thinking was if it’s consensual, OK,” he added in the SiriusXM podcast. “At the time, I was not clearheaded.”
The remarks were James Franco’s first extended comments about accusations leveled against him nearly four years ago when the LA Times reported that five women had accused James of conduct they considered inappropriate.
After that, in October 2019, two women filed a civil suit against James, accusing him of exploiting aspiring actors at his now-defunct school and duping young women into shooting sex scenes.
James said he had developed a sex addiction after he became sober from alcohol addiction.
“It’s such a powerful drug,” he said. “I got hooked on it for 20 more years. The insidious part of that is that I stayed sober from alcohol all that time.”
In 2011 James co-hosted the Oscars ceremony and was a nominee at the 2012 awards for “127 Hours” for his performance in the movie.
James agreed this year to pay $2.2 million to settle the 2019 civil lawsuit, according to documents filed in LA superior court.
In the podcast interview, James also said he had been in recovery from “sex addiction” since 2016 and had “been doing a lot of work” after the allegations against him “and changing who I was.”
“I didn’t want to hurt people,” he said.