Hollywood actor James Franco has reached a settlement deal in a 2019 lawsuit, that accused Franco of intimidating his students into sexual situations at the acting school he founded.
Variety reported that according to a joint status report filed on February 11, Sarah Tither-Kaplan and Toni Gaal, 2 of Franco’s former students at his now-defunct Studio 4 School’, have agreed to drop their individual claims against the actor.
The sexual exploitation claims by the students have been dismissed without prejudice, leaving them open to being re-filed. Additionally, fraud allegations brought forward in the suit will be subject to limited release. However, it’s not immediately clear as to how much money was involved in this settlement deal.
According to their class-action suit, Franco had allegedly forced his students to perform explicit sex scenes on camera in what they described as an “orgy-type setting” during a master class he held on sex scenes.
Tither-Kaplan and Gaal also alleged that Franco led students to believe that roles in his films would become available to them if they followed along. The deal will be submitted for preliminary court approval by March 15.
In a previous filing, Franco’s attorneys responded to the claims, and called them “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.”
As per Variety, Tither-Kaplan had first alleged claims of sexual misconduct against Franco in early 2018 after he won a Golden Globe award for his role in “The Disaster Artist.” Since the allegations came to light, Franco has kept out of the spotlight, though he still has several film and television projects in the works.