James Franco Agrees To Pay More Than $2.2 Million To Settle Sexual Misconduct Lawsuit With Former Acting Students
James Franco has agreed to pay $2,235,000 to settle a sexual misconduct lawsuit.
According to court documents that were made public on Wednesday and obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, the 43-year-old actor and associated entities have agreed to fork over the seven-figure sum to his former acting students who claim he pushed them to perform in explicit sex scenes on camera.
A Los Angeles judge still needs to review and sign off on the proposed deal before it can go into effect.
Sarah Tither-Kaplan and Toni Gaal led the class-action lawsuit in October of 2020, which alleged that those who were taught by Franco at Studio 4 Film School in New York and Los Angeles were victims of fraud.
If the deal is approved, Tither-Kaplan will receive $670,500, with $223,500 of that going to the lawyers; Gaal will get $223,500, minus $74,500 in attorneys' fees; and the other students in the class action will receive almost two-thirds of the remaining $1.341 million to divvy up, with $827,000 of that going to the lawyers.
Unclaimed money will be sent to the National Women's Law Center as a donation.
Additionally, Franco has agreed to "non-economic" terms, which have not been made public.
The settlement will also require Tither-Kaplan, Gaal and the other students in the class action to drop their fraud claims against the actor.
As part of the deal, the parties will also agree to a statement that reads in part: "While Defendants continue to deny the allegations in the Complaint, they acknowledge that Plaintiffs have raised important issues; and all parties strongly believe that now is a critical time to focus on addressing the mistreatment of women in Hollywood. All agree on the need to make sure that no one in the entertainment industry – regardless of race, religion, disability, ethnicity, background, gender or sexual orientation – faces discrimination, harassment or prejudice of any kind."
The #MeToo movement – which took off in October of 2017 after disgraced movie producer Harvey Weinstein was revealed to be a sexual predator – has shed light on all sorts of misconduct in the entertainment industry and beyond.
Still, Franco's sexual exploitation case with his acting students becoming a putative class action is considered rare.