James Franco has reportedly been accused of sexual exploitation by two of his former students in the now-closed Studio 4 school. According to reports, the two students in the now-closed acting school alleges that the classes existed principally to create a way for Franco and his associates to take advantage of young women. The lawsuit which was filed on Thursday alleges that the students paid $300 a month, thinking they were participating in a prominent acting school but in turn were intimidated and sexually objectified.
The two women, Sarah Tither-Kaplan and Toni Gaal filed the class action complaint in Los Angeles County Superior Court stating that Franco and his partners “engaged in widespread inappropriate and sexually charged behaviour towards female students by sexualizing their power as a teacher and an employer by dangling the opportunity for roles in their projects.”
“As Plaintiffs experienced and observed, Studio 4 served no other legitimate purposes other than to dupe unsuspecting and often very young ‘students’ out of their money and talent to serve Defendants’ financial and exploitative desires,” the suit states.
The lawsuit claims that that as part of the school, Franco taught a “master class” on sex scenes. In auditions for the master classes, the students were pressured to engage in sexual activity which were then taped and Franco would review the tapes to see who would be allowed into the class, the plaintiffs allege.
Given how Franco was accused of misconduct by 5 women back in January 2018 which was later dismissed, Franco’s attorney, Michael Plonsker, have however said that Franco will seek damages against the plaintiffs and their attorneys for bringing a “scurrilous” lawsuit.
“This is not the first time that these claims have been made and they have already been debunked,” Plonsker said. “We have not had an opportunity to review the ill-informed Complaint in depth since it was leaked to the press before it was filed and our client has yet to even be served. James will not only fully defend himself, but will also seek damages from the plaintiffs and their attorneys for filing this scurrilous publicity seeking lawsuit.”
As of now the complaint alleges Franco of sex discrimination, sexual harassment, fraud, and false advertising. It seeks to establish two plaintiff classes: one for students who were sexually exploited, and a second for all Studio 4 students, who the suit claims were all defrauded. The class action attorneys, at the firm of Valli Kane & Vagnini, are looking for additional students to come forward to participate in the suit.