Actor James Franco has spoken publicly for the first time about the sexual misconduct allegations brought against him nearly four years ago, saying that the affairs he had with students in his acting class were “wrong” but “consensual.”
In a wide-ranging interview with SiriusXM’s “The Jess Cagle” podcast, Franco also discussed his professional split with fellow star Seth Rogen.
In 2018, five women came forward to accuse Franco of “sexually exploitative behavior” while four of them were students in his acting class. Two of the students ended up suing Franco, who paid $2,235,000 to settle the lawsuit.
The suit claimed Franco and his business partners “engaged in widespread inappropriate and sexually charged behavior towards female students by sexualizing their power as a teacher and an employer by dangling the opportunity for roles in their projects.”
The actor said he decided to speak now because he’s been working through “addiction” issues, which he later said included sex addiction.
“Over the course of my teaching, I did sleep with students, and that was wrong,” Franco said in the podcast. “But like I said, it’s not why I started the school and I wasn’t the person that selected the people to be in the class. So it wasn’t a ‘master plan’ on my part. But yes, there were certain instances where, you know what, I was in a consensual thing with a student and I shouldn’t have been.”
He added: “At the time I was not clearheaded, as I’ve said. So I guess it just comes down to my criteria was like, ‘If this is consensual, like, I think it’s cool. We’re all adults so….’”
Franco also addressed his sex addiction, for which he’s been in recovery since 2016.
Franco discussed his professional split from Seth Rogen.
“I just want to say, I absolutely love Seth Rogen,” the actor said. “I worked with him for 20 years and we didn’t have one fight. For 20 years, not one fight. He was my absolute closest work friend, collaborator. And we just gelled. And what he said is true. We aren’t working together right now and we don’t have any plans to work together.”
“Of course, it was hurtful in context,” Franco added, “but I get it, you know, he had to answer for me because I was silent. He had to answer for me and I don’t want that. And so that’s why, you know, it’s one of the main reasons I wanted to talk to you today is I just, I don’t want Seth or my brother [Dave Franco] or anyone to have to answer for me anymore.”