James Franco has denied sexual misconduct allegations filed in a lawsuit by two of his former acting school students last October.
A notice of demurrer seeking to have the students’ claims dismissed was released, as reported by Vanity Fair, after being submitted to the Los Angeles superior court last month.
The actor was accused by Sarah Tither-Kaplan and Toni Gaal, who attended Franco’s now-closed acting school Studio 4 in 2014.
The plaintiffs accused Franco of having “engaged in widespread inappropriate and sexually charged behaviour towards female students by sexualizing their power as a teacher and an employer by dangling the opportunity for roles in their projects.”
The demurrer calls the claims “false and inflammatory”, and the two young women “attention-hungry”. It also states: “The salacious allegations in the complaint… are legally baseless and brought as a class action with the obvious goal of grabbing as much publicity as possible….”
Franco is named as “an ardent believer in the righteousness of the #MeToo and Times Up movements.”
“Unfortunately, while these movements have rightly brought down a number of reprehensible individuals, they have also ensnared an innocent man. James Franco,” the report continued.
Naming Tither-Kaplan specifically, the demurrer described her accusations as deciding “to jump on the bandwagon and insert herself into the media’s insatiable appetite to ruin the next celebrity.”
The young woman took to Twitter in response this morning (3 March) with her final comments.
— Sarah Tither-Kaplan🌈 (@sarahtk) March 3, 2020
“Should note that #timesup and #metoo are different movements and his lawyers seem to be conflating and/or confusing the two and these headlines don’t help make the distinction,” her tweet read, while sharing a report of the demurrer from Variety.
James Franco most recently starred in HBO series The Deuce as twins Vincent and Frankie Martino. The show concluded last October after three seasons.