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5 Women Accuse James Franco Of Sexual Misconduct

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Five women have spoken out in an explosive new Los Angeles Times article accusing actor James Franco of sexual misconduct.

Four actresses who were students in Franco’s acting classes and a filmmaker who considered him a mentor say in the article published on Thursday that Franco asked them to perform sexually inappropriate and coercive scenes, and described him “storming off” a movie set when women refused his demands to appear naked.

Some of the women tweeted in protest on Sunday night, when Franco, sporting a “Time’s Up” pin, won a Golden Globe for his latest film “The Disaster Artist.”

Actress Sarah Tither-Kaplan told the LA Times that Franco’s show of support for the Time’s Up movement, founded by powerful women in Hollywood to combat workplace sexual harassment, was a “slap in my face.”

Franco, asked about the tweets by Stephen Colbert on Tuesday, denied any wrongdoing, and said claims of misconduct “are not accurate.”

“Look, in my life I pride myself on taking responsibility for things that I have done,” Franco told Colbert. “I have to do that to maintain my well being. The things that I heard that were on Twitter are not accurate. But I completely support people coming out and being able to have a voice because they didn’t have a voice for so long. So I don’t want to shut them down in any way.

“If I have done something wrong,” he continued, “I will fix it — I have to.”

Franco’s lawyer disputed all of the accusations in the LA Times story, and directed the paper to Franco’s comments on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert.” The lawyer, Michael Plonsker, didn’t immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment.

Hours before Franco’s appearance on the show, The New York Times abruptly canceled a live event with Franco to promote “The Disaster Artist,” citing “recent allegations.”

Sopan Deb, the reporter who had been slated to moderate the event Wednesday evening, tweeted that he had asked Franco to respond to the allegations, but the actor refused.

Another of Franco’s accusers, filmmaker Violet Paley, told the LA Times that Franco pressured her into performing oral sex on him in her car. The two had been having a consensual relationship, but they’d never engaged in oral sex before he exposed himself, she said.

“I was talking to him, all of a sudden his penis was out. I got really nervous, and I said, ‘Can we do this later?’ He was kind of nudging my head down, and I just didn’t want him to hate me, so I did it.”

She began to perform the sex act, but was uncomfortable. To extricate herself from the situation, she told Franco she spotted someone near the car.

Two former acting students, Hilary Dusome and Natalie Chmiel, said Franco “stormed off” a movie set when no women agreed to undress for a scene, and described what they called “an unprofessional and hostile” environment.

Another acting student, Katie Ryan, said Franco gave the impression that women could only advance in their careers “if we were to perform sexual acts or take off our shirts,” adding that Franco would send her and other students audition requests for roles as “a prostitute or a hooker.”

The women described feeling exploited and said they had been afraid to speak out because of Franco’s influence in Hollywood.

“I feel there was an abuse of power, and there was a culture of exploiting non-celebrity women, and a culture of women being replaceable,” Tither-Kaplan said.

Franco appeared Wednesday night on “Late Night With Seth Meyers,” and again said the allegations on Twitter were “not accurate.” He added that he wouldn’t “actively refute” the women’s claims because “this is a conversation that obviously needs to be had.” He also repeated his support for Time’s Up.

“If I have to take a knock because I’m not going to try and actively refute things, then I will, because I believe in it that much,” he said of the initiative.

In an email to HuffPost on Thursday, Paley said the LA Times article didn’t include all of Franco’s actions toward her. She said there are other women “who were not ready” to share stories about Franco.

Of Franco’s remarks to Colbert and Meyers, Paley said they were “unfortunate because he is lying.”

“He knows what he did,” Paley said. “We all spoke to him in November and December after asking for an apology months before.”

Read the full Los Angeles Times story here.

This article has been updated to include Paley’s comments.

Also on HuffPost

Rosa Clemente with actress Susan Sarandon

<a href="http://rosaclemente.net/biography-of-rosa-clemente/">Rosa Clemente</a>, who attended the Golden Globes with Susan Sarandon, is an <a href="http://news.cornell.edu/stories/2017/01/alumna-activist-rosa-clemente-reflect-mlks-legacy">activist and independent journalist</a> focusing on issues affecting black and Latinx communities. She’s the president and founder of <a href="http://www.thefeministwire.com/2013/07/feminists-we-love-rosa-clemente/">Know Thy Self Productions</a>, which <a href="http://rosaclemente.net/biography-of-rosa-clemente/'">produces</a> community activism tours that center around hip-hop activism, immigrants’ rights and voter engagement in youth communities of color. <br /><br />In 2008, Clemente was the vice presidential nominee on the Green Party ticket. Today, she is a doctoral student at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. <br /><br />“Our sisterhood is strong, it's always been strong. Now we need men to be allies and accomplices in smashing sexual violence,” Clemente said in a red carpet <a href="https://twitter.com/rosaclemente/status/950327670629265408">interview with Access Hollywood</a> on Sunday night. “It can't just be because you have a daughter or mother, it has to be because we are human beings that deserve the right to dignity, whether we're working on a Hollywood set or we're working at Kentucky Fried Chicken, whether we're a mother in the South Bronx or we're a mother in Beverly Hills.”
Rosa Clemente, who attended the Golden Globes with Susan Sarandon, is an activist and independent journalist focusing on issues affecting black and Latinx communities. She’s the president and founder of Know Thy Self Productions, which produces community activism tours that center around hip-hop activism, immigrants’ rights and voter engagement in youth communities of color.

In 2008, Clemente was the vice presidential nominee on the Green Party ticket. Today, she is a doctoral student at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

“Our sisterhood is strong, it's always been strong. Now we need men to be allies and accomplices in smashing sexual violence,” Clemente said in a red carpet interview with Access Hollywood on Sunday night. “It can't just be because you have a daughter or mother, it has to be because we are human beings that deserve the right to dignity, whether we're working on a Hollywood set or we're working at Kentucky Fried Chicken, whether we're a mother in the South Bronx or we're a mother in Beverly Hills.”

Ai-jen Poo with actress Meryl Streep

<a href="https://www.domesticworkers.org/ai-jen-poo" target="_blank">Ai-jen Poo,</a> who attended the event with Meryl Streep, has long been an advocate for domestic workers and those involved in family care ― fields largely dominated by women and often excluded from federal and state labor laws. <br /><br />Currently the director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance and co-director of the campaign <a href="https://caringacross.org/" target="_blank">Caring Across Generations</a>, Poo spent years as an organizer, connecting workers with proper legal assistance, facilitating communication among laborers, and raising awareness about issues facing domestic workers. <br /><br />Poo spearheaded a legislative campaign that became a major push behind the enactment of the Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights in New York, guaranteeing certain protections to domestic workers. The activist was awarded a prestigious <a href="https://www.macfound.org/fellows/924/" target="_blank">MacArthur Fellowship</a> in 2014 and was named one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People in the World in 2012.
Ai-jen Poo, who attended the event with Meryl Streep, has long been an advocate for domestic workers and those involved in family care ― fields largely dominated by women and often excluded from federal and state labor laws. 

Currently the director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance and co-director of the campaign Caring Across Generations, Poo spent years as an organizer, connecting workers with proper legal assistance, facilitating communication among laborers, and raising awareness about issues facing domestic workers. 

Poo spearheaded a legislative campaign that became a major push behind the enactment of the Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights in New York, guaranteeing certain protections to domestic workers. The activist was awarded a prestigious MacArthur Fellowship in 2014 and was named one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People in the World in 2012.

Tarana Burke with actress Michelle Williams

Tarana Burke, who attended the show with Michelle Williams, <a href="https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/the-me-too-campaign-was-created-by-a-black-woman-10-years-ago_us_59e61a7fe4b02a215b336fee">founded the “Me Too” movement</a> long before its hashtag existed. She founded the youth organization Just Be Inc. in 2006 with a mission to educate young women of color on health and well-being. A year later, she created the “Me Too” campaign as a grassroots movement to reach sexual assault survivors in underprivileged communities.<br /><br />Currently, Burke is a <a href="http://www.ggenyc.org/about/staff/">senior director</a> at Girls for Gender Equity in New York and has continued her work as a youth advocate in the more recent #MeToo movement. This past fall, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/womensmarchonwash/posts/1711547782191827">Burke spoke at the Women’s Convention</a> in Detroit. She was also one of the <a href="https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/time-person-of-the-year-2017_us_5a1e9b93e4b0cb0e917ca818">“Silence Breakers”</a> that Time magazine named as person of the year for 2017.<br /><br />“Me too is so powerful because somebody had said it to me and it changed the trajectory of my healing process once I heard that,” Burke said in <a href="https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/the-me-too-campaign-was-created-by-a-black-woman-10-years-ago_us_59e61a7fe4b02a215b336fee">an October interview</a> with Democracy Now. “Me too was about reaching the places that other people wouldn’t go, bringing messages and words and encouragement to survivors of sexual violence where other people wouldn’t be talking about it.”
Tarana Burke, who attended the show with Michelle Williams, founded the “Me Too” movement long before its hashtag existed. She founded the youth organization Just Be Inc. in 2006 with a mission to educate young women of color on health and well-being. A year later, she created the “Me Too” campaign as a grassroots movement to reach sexual assault survivors in underprivileged communities.

Currently, Burke is a senior director at Girls for Gender Equity in New York and has continued her work as a youth advocate in the more recent #MeToo movement. This past fall, Burke spoke at the Women’s Convention in Detroit. She was also one of the “Silence Breakers” that Time magazine named as person of the year for 2017.

“Me too is so powerful because somebody had said it to me and it changed the trajectory of my healing process once I heard that,” Burke said in an October interview with Democracy Now. “Me too was about reaching the places that other people wouldn’t go, bringing messages and words and encouragement to survivors of sexual violence where other people wouldn’t be talking about it.”

Saru Jayaraman with actress Amy Poehler

Saru Jayaraman, who attended the Golden Globes as a guest of Amy Poehler, is an attorney who’s best known for her work organizing low-wage restaurant workers and fighting for fair pay. <br /><br />Jayaraman, president of Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, made a name for herself supporting the surviving employees of “Windows on the World,” a restaurant that had been in the World Trade Center prior to the Sept. 11 attacks. When the restaurant’s management company was hiring for its new establishment, most of the surviving restaurant workers who applied for positions were denied, according to <a href="https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-06-19/saru-jayaraman-the-alt-labor-leader-fighting-for-fair-pay-for-restaurant-workers" target="_blank">Bloomberg</a>. The attorney coordinated protests, and the company consequently ended up doubling the number of former Windows on the World it hired. <br /><br />The <a href="https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/democracy/news/2013/03/08/55846/the-top-13-women-of-color-to-watch-in-2013/" target="_blank">Center for American Progress</a> named Jayaraman one of the “Top Women of Color to Watch in 2013.”
Saru Jayaraman, who attended the Golden Globes as a guest of Amy Poehler, is an attorney who’s best known for her work organizing low-wage restaurant workers and fighting for fair pay. 

Jayaraman, president of Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, made a name for herself supporting the surviving employees of “Windows on the World,” a restaurant that had been in the World Trade Center prior to the Sept. 11 attacks. When the restaurant’s management company was hiring for its new establishment, most of the surviving restaurant workers who applied for positions were denied, according to Bloomberg. The attorney coordinated protests, and the company consequently ended up doubling the number of former Windows on the World it hired. 

The Center for American Progress named Jayaraman one of the “Top Women of Color to Watch in 2013.”

Billie Jean King with actress Emma Stone

Billie Jean King, who was the guest of Emma Stone on Sunday night, is a former professional tennis player who has been an advocate for gender equality and gay rights during her time on and off the tennis court. She consistently advocated for pay equity for female athletes, and later became one of the first well-known openly gay athletes.<br /><br /> In 1973, King won the iconic “<a href="https://www.huffingtonpost.com/topic/battle-of-the-sexes">Battle of the Sexes</a>” tennis match against former professional player Bobby Riggs. King went on to found the <a href="http://www.wtatennis.com/" target="_blank">Women’s Tennis Association</a> and the <a href="https://www.womenssportsfoundation.org/athletes/our-athletes/billie-jean-king/" target="_blank">Women’s Sports Foundation</a>. In <a href="http://content.time.com/time/covers/0,16641,19760105,00.html" target="_blank">1975</a>, she was named Time’s person of the year and, in <a href="https://www.womenofthehall.org/inductee/billie-jean-king/" target="_blank">1990</a>, was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame. <br /><br />“I decided at 12 years old that I was going to fight for equal rights and opportunities for boys and girls, men and women for the rest of my life,” she said at a <a href="https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/billie-jean-king-nfl-gender-diversity_us_56b3b988e4b01d80b2459482">2016 NFL Women’s Summit</a>. “Tennis was my platform, but that’s not my real thing — my real thing was to push forward for both genders.”
Billie Jean King, who was the guest of Emma Stone on Sunday night, is a former professional tennis player who has been an advocate for gender equality and gay rights during her time on and off the tennis court. She consistently advocated for pay equity for female athletes, and later became one of the first well-known openly gay athletes.

In 1973, King won the iconic “Battle of the Sexes” tennis match against former professional player Bobby Riggs. King went on to found the Women’s Tennis Association and the Women’s Sports Foundation. In 1975, she was named Time’s person of the year and, in 1990, was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame.

“I decided at 12 years old that I was going to fight for equal rights and opportunities for boys and girls, men and women for the rest of my life,” she said at a 2016 NFL Women’s Summit. “Tennis was my platform, but that’s not my real thing — my real thing was to push forward for both genders.”

Calina Lawrence with actress Shailene Woodley

Calina Lawrence, who went to Sunday’s awards ceremony with Shailene Woodley, is a member of the Suquamish Tribe and hails from Washington state. <a href="https://www.calinalawrence.com/bio/" target="_blank">Lawrence, a musician</a>, uses her art to tackle themes of racial injustice, violence against women, and misrepresentation of Native Americans in education and mainstream media, as well as other important topics.<br /><br />Lawrence said she hoped through her appearance at the Golden Globes to shed light on injustices the indigenous community faces. <br /><br />“As an Indigenous woman, it was an absolute honor to stand in solidarity with the women of the <a href="https://www.facebook.com/hashtag/timesup?source=feed_text&story_id=1492144290832821">#TimesUp</a> movement today and moving forward!” she wrote on Facebook. “To our Violated, Missing, & Murdered Indigenous women, their families and friends, their communities who await recognition and justice - we see you and we love you and we will continue to do what we can to include you in this work.”
Calina Lawrence, who went to Sunday’s awards ceremony with Shailene Woodley, is a member of the Suquamish Tribe and hails from Washington state. Lawrence, a musician, uses her art to tackle themes of racial injustice, violence against women, and misrepresentation of Native Americans in education and mainstream media, as well as other important topics.

Lawrence said she hoped through her appearance at the Golden Globes to shed light on injustices the indigenous community faces. 

“As an Indigenous woman, it was an absolute honor to stand in solidarity with the women of the #TimesUp movement today and moving forward!” she wrote on Facebook. “To our Violated, Missing, & Murdered Indigenous women, their families and friends, their communities who await recognition and justice - we see you and we love you and we will continue to do what we can to include you in this work.”

Mónica Ramírez with actress Laura Dern

Mónica Ramírez, who accompanied Laura Dern on Sunday, is a <a href="https://www.netrootsnation.org/profile/monia-ramirez/">civil rights attorney and author</a> who has fought for women, workers rights and the Latinx community for more than 20 years. Her work focuses on policy issues affecting Latina women, including the gender pay gap. <br /><br />Ramírez is the co-founder and president of the board of the <a href="https://www.alianzanacionaldecampesinas.org/">National Farmworker Women’s Alliance</a> (also known as Alianza Nacional de Campesinas). Currently, she’s the deputy director for the <a href="https://www.lclaa.org/">Labor Council for Latin American Advancement</a> and is a board member for the <a href="http://www.latinainstitute.org/">National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health</a>.<br /><br />“The most surprising thing about my work is also the most rewarding. I have learned that there is no one right strategy or ‘right way’ to address or solve most of the social problems that exist in our country today,” Ramírez told <a href="https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/meet-monica-ramirez-the-advocate-behind-the-countrys_us_59f8d781e4b0b7f0915f6277">HuffPost</a> in October. “None of us can do our work alone and I am grateful that I have had the good fortune to work alongside incredible community members and other partners in the pursuit of justice for Latinas and other people in our country."
Mónica Ramírez, who accompanied Laura Dern on Sunday, is a civil rights attorney and author who has fought for women, workers rights and the Latinx community for more than 20 years. Her work focuses on policy issues affecting Latina women, including the gender pay gap.

Ramírez is the co-founder and president of the board of the National Farmworker Women’s Alliance (also known as Alianza Nacional de Campesinas). Currently, she’s the deputy director for the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement and is a board member for the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health.

“The most surprising thing about my work is also the most rewarding. I have learned that there is no one right strategy or ‘right way’ to address or solve most of the social problems that exist in our country today,” Ramírez told HuffPost in October. “None of us can do our work alone and I am grateful that I have had the good fortune to work alongside incredible community members and other partners in the pursuit of justice for Latinas and other people in our country."

Marai Larasi with actress Emma Watson

Marai Larasi, Emma Watson’s guest to the Golden Globes, has been involved in activism around ending violence against women, particularly black and minority women, for more than two decades. <br /><br />Larasi is currently the executive director of U.K.-based black feminist group Imkaan, which works to prevent and respond to violence against women and girls through both research and advocacy. Her accomplishments have landed her a spot on the <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/careers/world-pride-power-list-2013-11-100" target="_blank">Guardian’s World Pride Power List 2013,</a> which celebrates the most influential people in the LGBTQ community. <br /><br />“If we are to end violence against women and girls, and create a truly equal world, we need to start to create seismic shifts across our social norms,” Larasi wrote in a blog for <a href="http://www.unwomen.org/en/news/stories/2018/1/in-the-words-of-marai-larasi" target="_blank">UN Women</a> last week. “This is not just about transforming belief systems and behaviours in terms of gender; it also means addressing other norms – for example, around ethnicity, class and disability – all of which contribute to holding other oppressive systems in place.”
Marai Larasi, Emma Watson’s guest to the Golden Globes, has been involved in activism around ending violence against women, particularly black and minority women, for more than two decades. 

Larasi is currently the executive director of U.K.-based black feminist group Imkaan, which works to prevent and respond to violence against women and girls through both research and advocacy. Her accomplishments have landed her a spot on the Guardian’s World Pride Power List 2013, which celebrates the most influential people in the LGBTQ community. 

“If we are to end violence against women and girls, and create a truly equal world, we need to start to create seismic shifts across our social norms,” Larasi wrote in a blog for UN Women last week. “This is not just about transforming belief systems and behaviours in terms of gender; it also means addressing other norms – for example, around ethnicity, class and disability – all of which contribute to holding other oppressive systems in place.”

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This article originally appeared on HuffPost.