James Franco has admitted he slept with students from his acting school nearly four years after multiple women made a series of sexual misconduct allegations against him. In his first in-depth interview, “The Disaster Artist” the star confessed that he had sexual relationships with students of his acting school but they were consensual.
The lawsuit had alleged that the 43-year-old was looking to “create a pipeline of young women who were subjected to his personal and professional sexual exploitation in the name of education.”
“Look, I’ll admit I did sleep with students,” Franco said.“I didn’t sleep with anybody in that particular class. But over the course of my teaching, I did sleep with students and that was wrong.”
Franco said he has been in recovery from sex addiction since 2016.“It’s such a powerful drug, and I got hooked on it for 20 more years,” he said about his addiction.
Franco further went on to say“And the insidious part of that is that I stayed sober from alcohol all that time. So, I went to meetings, you know, all that time. I even tried to, you know, sponsor other people. And so in my head, it was like, ‘Oh, I’m sober. I’m living a spiritual life,’ were on the side, I’m acting out now in all these other ways. And I couldn’t see it.”Franco said he frequently cheated on women before his current girlfriend of four years, Isabel Pakzad.
I didn’t want to hurt people, and in fact, I wasn’t, like, really a one-night-stand guy,” he said.“People I got together with or dated, I’d see them for a long time, years. It’s just that I couldn’t be present for any of them. And the behavior spun out to a point where it was like I was hurting everybody.”
Well, in 2018, there were some complaints about me and an article about me and at that moment I just thought, I’m going to be quiet,” Franco said.“I’m going to pause. Did not seem like the right time to say anything. There were people that were upset with me and I needed to listen.
“There’s a writer, Damon Young, and he talked about when something like this happens, the natural human instinct is to just make it stop. You just want to get out in front of it and whatever you have to do, apologize, you know, get it done.
Franco agreed in June to pay over $2 million to settle a sexual misconduct lawsuit filed by several of his former students, according to court documents seen by NBC News. He was sued in 2019 in a class-action lawsuit by two former students, Sarah Tither-Kaplan and Toni Gaal, who attended his Studio 4 acting school, which he ran from 2014 to 2017.
The sexual misconduct accusations led Franco’s longtime collaborator, Seth Rogen, to share in May that he would no longer be working with Franco on future projects. Franco responded to that statement in the interview with Cagle, which will be released in full on Thursday.
“He was asked about me, and I just want to say, I absolutely love Seth Rogen,” Franco said. “I worked with him for 20 years. We didn’t have one fight for 20 years. Not one fight. He was my absolute closest work friend, collaborator. 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, but I get it, 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 one of the main reasons I wanted to talk today, is I just, I don’t want Seth or my brother or anyone to have to answer for me anymore.”