According to court records seen by CN News, actor James Franco has agreed to pay more than $2 million to resolve a sexual misconduct case filed by many of his former students.
Two former students of Franco’s Studio 4 acting school, which he managed from 2014 to 2017, sued him in a class-action lawsuit in 2019.
In their class-action lawsuit, Sarah Tither-Kaplan and Toni Gaal claimed that Franco and his associates forced them and others to record overt sexual activities.
It accused the respondents of attempting to extort money from them “By offering aspiring actors’ jobs in cinema and television in exchange for graphic nudity, sex, and, as Franco described it, “pushing of limits” at Studio 4, they sexualize their power and celebrity.
His acting school was branded as “fraudulent” in their lawsuit. Studio 4 was closed by Franco in 2017.
The plaintiffs’ legal teams recommended conditions of the $2.2 million settlement to a Los Angeles judge in a document dated June 24 but made public Wednesday.
The judge must still accept the arrangement.
An attorney representing Franco, Michael Plonsker, claimed the charges were “debunked” and rejected the allegations as a “scurrilous publicity-seeking action” when the complaint was filed.
While Franco and the other defendants continue to reject the charges, the proposed settlement contains wording that would discharge all claims by all parties.
“While Defendants continue to dispute the claims in the lawsuit, they recognize that Plaintiffs have highlighted serious concerns,” the draught statement says.
“All parties firmly agree that now is a vital time to focus on addressing the maltreatment of women in Hollywood.”
“Everyone agrees that no one in the entertainment business should experience discrimination, harassment, or prejudice of any sort, regardless of sex, race, religion, handicap, ethnicity, background, gender, or sexual orientation.”
A little less than $1 million goes to the named plaintiffs, and a little more than $1 million goes to a “common fund” to resolve any new claims brought by other class members.
Franco, Tither-Kaplan, and Gaal’s representatives did not immediately reply to CN News request for comment.