James Franco has agreed to pay $ 2.2 million to settle a class action lawsuit for allegedly pushing his former film students into making increasingly explicit sex scenes on camera. The settlement, first revealed by The Hollywood Reporter on Wednesday, will go to a Los Angeles judge for approval.
The deal comes less than a year after two of Franco’s alumni, Sarah Tither-Kaplan and Toni Gaal, filed a complaint alleging that the Oscar-nominated actor, 43, at his film school Studio 4 were victims of fraud. Tither-Kaplan was one of five women to be published by the Los Angeles Times for a January 2018 report that detailed allegations of Franco’s inappropriate behavior or sexual exploitation on set. Franco has repeatedly denied the allegations.
Before the #MeToo movement, Franco had already courted public ridicule for inappropriate behavior with young women. In 2014, he took to Instagram to ask a 17-year-old British girl he had met outside a New York theater for the name of his hotel and if he should rent a room, even after learning about her age. These messages were then posted online. “I’m embarrassed and guess I’m just a model for the difficulty of social media,” Franco said in response.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, Tither-Kaplan will receive $ 670,500 from the settlement (less $ 223,500 for attorney fees), Gaal will receive $ 223,500 with $ 74,500 in legal fees. The remaining $ 1.341 million will go to other students, minus $ 827,000 for lawyers. The unclaimed money will be donated to the National Women’s Law Center.
Franco also agreed to “non-economic” terms for the individual plaintiffs, details of which are currently under seal. The lawsuit also names Franco Rabbit Bandini’s production company and its partners, including Vince Jolivette and Jay Davis, as defendants.
As part of the settlement, the parties agreed to a statement, which reads in part: “While the defendants continue to deny the allegations of the complaint, they acknowledge that the plaintiffs have raised important issues; and all parties firmly believe that now is the time to focus on addressing the abuse of women in Hollywood. All agree on the need to ensure that no one in the entertainment industry – regardless of race, religion, disability, ethnicity, origin, gender or sexual orientation – is victimized. discrimination, harassment or prejudice of any kind.