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James Franco Addresses Sexual Misconduct Allegations, Says He Has a Sex Addiction

The embattled actor sat down for his first interview in nearly four years

james franco sexual misconduct allegations addiction SiriusXM interview Jess Cagle podcast
James Franco on SiriusXM’s The Jess Cagle Podcast
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    James Franco recently agreed to his first interview in nearly four years, during which he addressed the sexual misconduct allegations leveled against him back in January 2018. In a sitdown with SiriusXM’s Jess Cagle, the actor claimed he is a changed man, and while he didn’t explicitly apologize, he said he’s been “doing a lot of work,” which involves being in recovery from sex addiction since 2016. Franco also continued to dismiss the accusations of sexually exploitive behavior put forth in a 2019 lawsuit from two former students of his now-defunct acting school.

    “There were people that were upset with me and I needed to listen,” Franco said, when asked why he has mostly remained silent about the accusations. “When something like this happens, like 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. But what that doesn’t do is allow you to do the work to look at what was underneath.”

    He continued, “There’s probably an iceberg underneath that of behavior, of patterning, of just being blind to yourself that isn’t gonna just be solved overnight. So I’ve just been doing a lot of work. And I guess I’m pretty confident in saying like, four years, you know? And I was in recovery before for substance abuse. And there were some issues that I had to deal with that were also related to addiction. And so I’ve really used my recovery background to kind of start examining this and, and changing who I was.”

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    It’s worth noting, however, that Franco did immediately try to get out in front of the allegations. During an appearance on Late Show with Stephen Colbert, he responded by saying, “The things I heard are not accurate,” while adding, “I completely support people coming out because they didn’t have a voice for so long.”

    Franco’s “work” involved the realization that while he had gotten sober at 17, he was “blind” to the pattern of behavior until his sister-in-law gave him a book on sex and love addiction. “When I read this book, it hit me like a bullet,” he remembered. “Up until that point, like as crazy as it is, like I had inklings like, okay, maybe this is an issue… In my head, it was like, ‘Oh, I’m sober. I’m living a spiritual life.’ Where on the side, I’m acting out now in all these other ways. And I couldn’t see it.”

    According to Franco, taking advice from his sponsor to heart was partially to blame:

    “He’s like, ‘Look, the cheating is dishonest. I don’t think that’s good for your sobriety, but if you’re not dating someone and you wanna go and hook up, like whatever happens between two consenting adults is fine.’ Like that’s what he said. The problem was, I took that and I ran with it and used it as an excuse to just hook up all over the place. And it was like, well, we’re being honest here. Right? And like you said, like I was completely blind to power dynamics or anything like that, but also completely blind to people’s feelings.”

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    Continuing the discussion of power dynamics, Franco stated the obvious by admitting that titling one of his acting school classes “Sex Scenes” was ill-advised, to say the least. However, he refuted the account put forth by two former students in their October 2019 lawsuit, claiming the name of the class had nothing to do with what was being taught. Franco also denied that he slept with anyone in the class — although he did have sex with other students at his school.

    This characterization falls in line with Franco’s response to Sarah Tither-Kaplan and Toni Gaal’s suit, when he called the accusations “false and inflammatory” and labeled his accusers as “attention-hungry” women. Of course, there’s no reason for Franco to admit to anything after coming to a $2.2 million settlement earlier this year.

    In the suit, Tither-Kaplan recalled one particular incident in which she and a few other women were selected to participate in a scene with Franco simulated performing oral sex on each of them. She claimed Franco, without their consent, removed the clear plastic guard that covered their vaginas and continued to simulate the sex act without protection.

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    To conclude the interview, Franco said he understands why his former friend Seth Rogen went on record as saying he no longer wants to work with him. “I get it, he had to answer for me ’cause I was silent,” Franco said. “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 to you today is. I don’t want Seth or my brother or anyone to have to answer for me anymore.”

    Watch clips from the interview below.

     

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