James Franco’s ex-students are accusing him of sexual exploitation.
The former students of his now-closed acting school claim in a new lawsuit that he pressured them to get naked for auditions while he dangled promises of movie roles that rarely panned out.
The suit, filed by Sarah Tither-Kaplan and Toni Gaal, says that both women were students at the Los Angeles branch of the Studio 4 school – which Franco co-founded – back in 2014.
The women claim Franco, and other instructors, engaged in “inappropriate and sexually charged behavior toward female students.” They also claim Franco created “an environment of harassment and sexual exploitation.”
According to the documents, Franco offered them roles in independent films he was producing or directing but they had a problem with what they had to do get those roles. In the suit, they claim Franco blew off several film industry guidelines for nude scenes. For instance, they claim young and inexperienced female students were “routinely pressured to engage in simulated s*x acts that went far beyond the standards in the industry.”
Toni claims she was denied entry into a s*x scenes master class because she had voiced uneasiness about how it was run. Sarah says she did get into the class, and actually did land roles in Franco productions, but was often required to shoot nude and/or s*x scenes, TMZ reports.
In documents, she references one in particular, an o*gy scene, where she claims Franco removed the plastic genital guards from “actresses’ vaginas while he simulated oral s*x on them.”
The New York Times and NPR first reported the lawsuit, which the women are seeking to make a class action that would allow other Studio 4 students to join.