For the actor and filmmaker James Franco, Sunday’s Golden Globes victory for his performance in “The Disaster Artist” was meant to propel him into Hollywood’s annual awards season with a shot at an Oscar nomination later this month. But questions about Mr. Franco’s behavior with women are following him into the spotlight.
Since Sunday, several women have come forward to say that Mr. Franco sexually exploited them or behaved inappropriately. Some of these women discussed their experiences with Mr. Franco in social media posts they shared during and after the Golden Globes broadcast, and others spoke to The Los Angeles Times for an article published on Thursday.
Mr. Franco has continued to appear at award ceremonies (like the National Board of Review gala on Tuesday) and on television talk shows, awkwardly explaining that he supports the rights of women to call out acts of sexual misconduct while asserting that his accusers have made inaccurate claims about him.
Now some of his accusers say that Mr. Franco is being insincere in his public appearances, and they fear that the pomp and circumstance of the Hollywood awards circuit will ultimately shield him from having to face any consequences for what they said he did.
Violet Paley, one of the women who accused Mr. Franco of misconduct, said Thursday in a telephone interview that his public statements rang hollow and seemed self-serving.
“I’m really disappointed,” Ms. Paley said. “I’m getting harassed by his fans for speaking out, like this is something I wanted.”
She added, “He had months of opportunity to make it right, and he didn’t. I’m getting death threats. He’s just going on, talking about his movie.”
During the Golden Globes, Ms. Paley was one of several women who took offense at the fact that Mr. Franco was wearing a pin supporting Time’s Up, an initiative founded by powerful women in the entertainment industry to fight workplace sexual harassment.
Ms. Paley, now 23, has said she was 21 when she began a romantic relationship with Mr. Franco, during which she said he coerced her to perform oral sex on him. In a tweet posted on Sunday, she wrote, “Cute #TIMESUP pin James Franco,” adding further details of her accusation.
Sarah Tither-Kaplan, another woman who criticized Mr. Franco that night, wrote in a Twitter post directed at him, “Remember a few weeks ago when you told me the full nudity you had me do in two of your movies for $100/day wasn’t exploitative because I signed a contract to do it?”
Ms. Tither-Kaplan later told The L.A. Times that she felt pressured to appear nude in an orgy scene in Mr. Franco’s yet unreleased film “The Long Home,” and that other actresses who appeared in the scene wore plastic guards covering their vaginas that Mr. Franco removed before simulating sex acts with them.
“I got it in my head pretty quickly that, O.K., you don’t say ‘no’ to this guy,” Ms. Tither-Kaplan told The L.A. Times.
Mr. Franco’s attorney, Michael Plonsker, told The L.A. Times that he disputed all of the women’s allegations in the article. Contacted by The New York Times, representatives for the actor pointed to Mr. Franco’s comments in late-night television interviews in which he said the women’s tweets were inaccurate but that he supported their right to speak out.
The actress Ally Sheedy, who appeared in a 2014 Off Broadway production of “The Long Shrift” that Mr. Franco directed, wrote in a Twitter post on Sunday, “James Franco just won. Please never ask me why I left the film/tv business.”
(Excerpt) Read More in: The New York Times