James Franco responds to sexual harassment allegations brought against him

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Kayleigh Dray
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James Franco, like many Golden Globes attendees, wore a Time’s Up pin to the awards show. However, the ‘hypocrisy’ of this decision prompted three women to publicly come forward with allegations of sexual misconduct against the actor.

As the awards show aired on Sunday evening, actress Violet Paley tweeted: “Cute #TimesUp pin, James Franco.”

From there, she went on to allege that Franco “pushed [her] head down in a car towards your exposed penis” in an attempt to force her to perform oral sex on him. She added that he told a friend of hers to “come to [his] hotel when she was 17.”

Responding to comments from the online community, Paley explained that she and Franco were in a consensual relationship at the time, but that this act was not consensual. She also claimed that Franco had, just a few weeks before the Golden Globes, offered her an “overdue, annoyed” and “convenient phone apology” for his misconduct, which she did not accept.

“Maybe some other people’s lives would be made easier if he donated all of his earnings from The Disaster Artist to RAINN,” she added, referring to the anti-sexual violence organisation.

Paley was not the only woman to speak out: filmmaker and actor Sarah Tither-Kaplan, also took to Twitter saying: “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? Times up on that!”

She added: “I 100% did not feel like I had a choice to say no.”

Elsewhere, Ally Sheedy – who worked with Franco on the 2014 off-Broadway production of The Long Shrift – also sent out a series of vague tweets about the actor’s past behaviour.

“James Franco just won. Please never ever ask me why I left the film/tv business,” she wrote.

She then continued: “Ok wait. Bye. Christian Slater and James Franco at a table [at the Golden Globes] #MeToo.”

And, in one final tweet, Sheedy said “Why is a man hosting? Why is James Franco allowed in? Said too much. Nite love ya.”

The actress’ tweets have since been deleted.

As a result of the allegations, the New York Times has since cancelled a planned TimesTalk with Franco. However, Stephen Colbert invited the actor on the Late Show on Tuesday night (9 Jan) and made a point of questioning Franco about the accusations, as well as his thoughts on the current #MeToo and Time’s Up movements.

“There were some things on Twitter,” said Franco. “I haven’t read them. I’ve heard about them.”

He continued: “I have no idea what I did to Ally Sheedy… I had nothing but a great time with her. I have total respect for her. I have no idea why she was upset. She took the tweet down…I can’t speak for her.

“The others… In my life, I pride myself on taking responsibility for things that I’ve done. I have to do that to maintain my well-being. I do it whenever I know that there’s something wrong that needs to be changed, I make it a point to do it.”

Franco continued: “The things that I heard 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, and I think it’s a good thing and I support it.”

Referencing the Time’s Up movement, the actor finished by saying: “I can’t live if there’s restitution to be made. If I’ve done something wrong, I will fix it. I have to. I don’t know what else to do.

“As far as the bigger issue of how we do it, I really don’t have the answers. I think the point of this whole thing is that we listen. I’m here to listen and learn and change my perspective where it’s off. I’m completely willing and want to.”

Images: Rex Features