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More women have come forward to accuse James Franco of sexual misconduct

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Kayleigh Dray
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Earlier this week, three women tweeted allegations of sexual misconduct against James Franco. Now, more women have come forward to accuse the actor of sexually exploitative behaviour.

James Franco, like many Golden Globes attendees, wore a Time’s Up pin to the awards show on 8 January. However, his decision to wear the pin raised eyebrows and prompted a number of women to come forward online with accusations of sexual misconduct.

Now, the Los Angeles Times reports that five women have accused Franco of inappropriate behaviour, both on and off movie sets.

Sarah Tither-Kaplan, a former acting student at the film school Franco founded in 2014, told the publication that it felt like a “slap to the face” seeing Franco openly support a movement which has pledged to stamp out sexual harassment in the entertainment industry.

She went on to allege that, in a nude orgy scene she filmed with Franco years ago, he removed protective plastic guards covering other actresses’ vaginas while simulating oral sex on them in a nude orgy scene.

“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,” she added.

Two other student actresses, Natalie Chmiel and Hilary Dusome, also recounted negative on-set experiences. Both said Franco became angry when no women, while at the shoot, would agree to be topless.

“[Franco] would always make everybody think there were possible roles on the table if we were to perform sexual acts or take off our shirts,” another student, Katie Ryan, told the newspaper.

Another woman, Violet Paley, told the Times the two were in a romantic relationship when he pressured her into having oral sex with him while they were in her car. She said that she was uncomfortable, and got out of the situation by telling Franco she saw someone nearby. Franco’s lawyer denied Paley’s allegations, saying they were “not accurate.”

Franco, through a lawyer, has denied all the accusations against him, insisting that they are “not accurate”.

Stephen Colbert invited the actor on the Late Show on Tuesday night (9 January) and made a point of questioning Franco about the ongoing accusations, as well as his thoughts on the current #MeToo and Time’s Up movements.

Franco responded: “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.”

If you have experienced sexual harassment or assault, it’s not your fault and you are not alone. You can find practical advice about tackling harassment in the workplace by visiting the Citizen’s Advice Bureau website, or calling the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s Equality Advisory and Support Service on 0808 800 0082.

If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, Victim Support and Rape Crisis provide support and resources. You can also call the RASAC (Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Centre) national helpline on 0800 0288 022.

Images: Rex Features

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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is editor of Stylist.co.uk, where she chases after rogue apostrophes and specialises in films, comic books, feminism and television. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends. 

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