In a new interview with SiriusXM’s Jess Cagle this week, James Franco explained that he finally wanted to attempt to clear the air after he was accused in a 2018 Los Angeles Times article of “abusing his power” as a teacher in “a way that was sexually exploitative.”
At the time, Franco addressed some of the claims on Late Night with Stephen Colbert, saying some of the allegations were “not accurate,” before showing support for “people coming out and being able to have a voice” during the #MeToo movement.
Two of the women later sued Franco.
When Cagle specifically asked about the allegations he used his Sex Scenes class to “create a steady stream of young women to objectify and exploit,” he offered up this:
“The stupidest thing I did, or one of the stupidest things I did at the school was I called one of my classes, a masterclass ‘Sex Scenes.’ It was not about sex scenes. I was not teaching people how to do sex scenes or intimate scenes or anything of that nature. It was a provocative title,” Franco told Cagle. “It should have been called Contemporary Romance or something like that. It was a class where they did scenes about whatever their romance is, you know, what they go through as young people. So meeting people on, you know, dating apps or breakups, or, you know, just a bad date, stuff like that. That’s what was being done in that class. It was not sex scenes.”
When Cagle specifically asked about the lawsuit saying Franco’s class was simply “a pipeline of young women who would be subjected to his personal and professional sexual exploitation in the name of education,” the actor admitted to having sex with some of his students.
“Look, I’ll admit I did sleep with students. I didn’t sleep with anybody in that particular class. But, over the course of my teaching, I did sleep with students and that was wrong” he said. “It’s not why I started the school and I wasn’t the person that selected the people to be in the class. So it wasn’t a master plan on my part. But yes, there were certain instances where, you know what I was in a consensual thing with, with a student and I shouldn’t have been.”
The actor was also asked about the “power imbalance” between student and teacher, especially a teacher as famous as Franco.
“I suppose at the time, my thinking was if it’s consensual, okay,” he responded. “At the time, I was not clearheaded as I’ve said. I guess it just comes down to my criteria, which was like, ‘If this is consensual, like, I think it’s cool. We’re all adults.'”
During the interview, Franco also said he’s struggled with sex addiction, after overcoming an alcohol addiction in his teen years. He said he’s been in recovery for the former since 2016.
Franco said he “could never be faithful to anybody” in his past and “cheated on everyone” before his current girlfriend Isabel Pakzad. He admitted he had been “completely blind to power dynamics or anything like that, but also completely blind to people’s feelings.” Franco then added that he “didn’t wanna hurt people” but “couldn’t be present” for anyone he dated — and “the behavior spun out to a point where it was like I was hurting everybody.”
There’s more – much more – here.
What do you think? Can people (predators?) change? Learn? Grow? Or is permanently cancelled? Larger question: Is ANYBODY really permanently cancelled?