The brewing James Franco controversy over sexual misconduct allegations, explained
James Franco arrived at the Golden Globe Awards on Sunday wearing a Time's Up pin designed to show support for women who have dealt with harassment or assault. But the actor seems to be facing a brewing scandal of his own.
The night of the Globes, in which Franco won best actor in a comedy of musical for "The Disaster Artist," three actresses tweeted accusations of sexual misconduct. Franco denied the claims in a Tuesday night appearance on CBS' "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert," hours after the New York Times canceled a TimesTalk event scheduled for Wednesday that was set to feature him and his brother Dave, who also starred in "The Disaster Artist." The Times said in a statement to the New York Daily News that it canceled the event "given the controversy surrounding recent allegations."
The controversy began when actress Ally Sheedy sent a series of tweets after Franco appeared at the awards show on Sunday, where he won best actor in a comedy for "The Disaster Artist."
"Why is a man hosting? Why is James Franco allowed in? Said too much. Nite love ya #goldenglobes," she tweeted, later adding, "James Franco just won. Please never ask me why I left the film/tv business."
Sheedy, whom Franco directed in the 2014 Off-Broadway play "The Long Shrift," deleted the tweets later that night. But screenshots still managed to circulate as actress Violet Paley tweeted another accusation.
"Cute #TIMESUP pin James Franco," she wrote. "Remember the time you pushed my head down in a car towards your exposed penis & that other time you told my friend to come to your hotel when she was 17? After you had already been caught doing that to a different 17 year old?"
A third actress, Sarah Tither-Kaplan, wrote a tweet directed at Franco that stated, "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!"
The Washington Post reached out to all four actors for comment. None responded except Paley, who declined comment for the time being.
This isn't the first time Franco has dealt with allegations of inappropriate behavior. In 2014, the actor was accused of pursuing an underage girl via Instagram when he allegedly direct messaged a 17-year-old fan and tried to meet up with her at a hotel, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
Franco addressed the situation while appearing on "Live! With Kelly and Michael" after screenshots of the conversation spread online, saying he was unaware of the girl's age.
"I'm embarrassed, and I guess I'm just a model of how social media is tricky," he said. "It's a way that people meet each other today, but what I've learned - I guess because I'm new to it - is you don't know who's on the other end."
Twitter users drew attention to Franco's questionable past after his Golden Globe win.
Asked by Colbert at the end of Tuesday's interview to address the recent allegations, Franco denied their accuracy and clarified that he wore the Time's Up pin "because I do support it."
"First of all, I have no idea what I did to Ally Sheedy" he said. "I had nothing but a great time with her, total respect for her."
Regarding the other allegations, he added, "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 - I don't want to, you know, shut them down in any way. I think it's a good thing, and I support it."
Colbert followed up by asking if there was a way to have this discussion off social media.
"Do you have any idea of what the answer might be to come to some sense of what the truth is so there can be some sort of reconciliation between people who clearly have different views of things?" he asked the actor. "I mean, it's a big question, but I don't know how to leave, or to further, this discussion."
In reference to his own situation, Franco said, "The way I live my life, I can't live if there's restitution to be made. I will make it. So if I've done something wrong, I will fix it. I have to. I mean, I think that's how that works. I don't know what else to do."
Regarding the bigger issue, he added, "Look, I really don't have the answers. And I think the point of this whole thing is that we listen. You know, there were incredible people talking that night. They had a lot to say. And I'm here to listen and learn and change my perspective where it's off, and I'm completely willing and want to."