Actor James Franco on Sunday night won a Best Actor award for his latest movie The Disaster Artist at Hollywood’s Golden Globe Awards. He thanked his co-stars, the other actors in his category, the man the movie was based on, filmmaker Tommy Wiseau. While he did so, a little pin on his lapel was distracting some viewers.
“Time is up,” the brooch read. Watching him speak, actress Violet Paley was furious.
“Cute #TIMESUP pin James Franco,” she tweeted. “Remember the time you pushed my head down in a car towards your exposed penis an 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?”
Paley wasn’t the only one to voice disgust at the 39-year-old’s accolade via social media.
And now, speaking to Los Angeles Times, a total of five women have accused the actor and director of sexual harassment and exploitation.
“I got it in my head pretty quickly that, okay, you don’t say ‘no’ to this guy,” aspiring actress and filmmaker Sarah Tither-Kaplan, 26, told The Times.
She is a former acting student at the school Franco founded, Studio 4. She said during filming in Franco’s Sex Scenes class, she appeared topless and later discovered the video had been uploaded to the video-sharing platform Vimeo. From there, she discovered her image had been shared to porn sites.
“I feel there was an abuse of power, and there was a culture of exploiting non-celebrity women, and a culture of women being replaceable,” Tither-Kaplan told The Times.
In 2015, Franco asked Tither-Kaplan to play a prostitute in his film The Long Home. In May that year, Tither-Kaplan claims, the producer organised an orgy scene in which she was to appear fully nude in the background.
A handful of other women were selected to appear with Franco, who simulated performing oral sex on each of them, Tither-Kaplan said. But in each case, she said he removed a clear plastic guard that covered their vaginas — and continued to simulate the sex act with no protection.
Then, Tither-Kaplan said, she and her female co-stars were asked to appear topless in an unscripted scene and dance around Franco while wearing animal skulls atop their heads. One actress who balked was sent home the next day, Tither-Kaplan said.
“Hey James Franco, nice #timesup pin at the Golden Globes,” Tither-Kaplan tweeted on Sunday night. “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!”
Franco’s attorney Cynthia Huffman denies Tither-Kaplan’s claims and provided The Times with a statement from a casting director who worked on The Long Home, denying any of the women were made to feel uncomfortable.