James Franco Settles Sexual Misconduct Lawsuit With School Students Out Of Court

by : Julia Banim on : 22 Feb 2021 09:17
James Franco Settles Sexual Misconduct Lawsuit With School Students Out Of CourtPA Images/sarahtitherkaplan/Instagram

A settlement agreement has now been reached in a lawsuit that accused actor James Franco of sexual misconduct at his acting school.

The lawsuit, which was filed in 2019, alleged that these acts of misconduct, which included sexual coercion and exploitation, took place in a sex scene master class taught by Franco, 42, at the now-defunct Studio 4, which ran from 2014 to 2017.


It was alleged that Franco had pushed his students into performing increasingly explicit filmed sex scenes in an ‘orgy type setting’, with the scenes going far beyond what would be considered acceptable on film sets.

James FrancoPA Images

Former acting students Sarah Tither-Kaplan and Toni Gaal, accused Franco of ‘widespread inappropriate and sexually charged behavior towards female students by sexualizing their power as a teacher and an employer by dangling the opportunity for roles in their projects’.

As per The Hollywood Reporter, it had been alleged that Franco had ‘sought to create a pipeline of young women who were subjected to his personal and professional sexual exploitation in the name of education’, leading students to believe there would be roles available in Franco’s films if they went along with the explicit scenes.


Franco’s production company Rabbit Bandini, as well as his partners Vince Jolivette and Jay Davis, were also named as defendants in the lawsuit.

Now, a status report filed jointly by the two sides in Los Angeles Superior Court reveals a settlement has been reached in the class-action suit, although some elements of the lawsuit may continue.

James FrancoPA Images

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the two sides of the suit had been in discussions on a settlement for several months, with the progress of the lawsuit put on pause during discussions.


In a previous court filing, Franco’s attorneys described the claims as ‘false and inflammatory, legally baseless and brought as a class action with the obvious goal of grabbing as much publicity as possible for attention-hungry Plaintiffs’.

Allegations made by other plaintiffs in lawsuit will now be dismissed without prejudice, which means they could be re-filed. Fraud allegations brought forward by those plaintiffs will be ‘subjected to limited release’, as per the document, without giving any further details.

The document also doesn’t reveal how much money could be involved in the deal, which involved parties say will be submitted for preliminary court approval by March 15.

If you have been affected by any of the issues in this article and wish to speak to someone in confidence, contact the Rape Crisis England and Wales helpline on 0808 802 9999 between 12pm–2.30pm and 7pm– 9.30pm every day. Alternatively, you can contact Victim Support free on 08 08 16 89 111 available 24/7, every day of the year, including Christmas.


Male Survivors Partnership is available to support adult male survivors of sexual abuse and rape. You can contact the organisation on their website or on their free helpline 0808 800 5005, open 9am–5pm Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays; 8am–8pm Tuesdays and Thursdays; 10am–2pm Saturdays.

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Julia Banim

Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.

Topics: News, Lawsuit, Legal, Sexual Misconduct


Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles and 1 other
  1. Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles

    Joint Status Report

  2. The Hollywood Reporter

    Settlement Deal Reached in James Franco Sexual Misconduct Suit