James Franco hit with a sexual harassment lawsuit by ex acting school students

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James Franco (Photo: Getty/Gallo Images)
James Franco (Photo: Getty/Gallo Images)

Cape Town - James Franco has been accused of allegedly sexually exploiting two women from his acting school.

Two women who’d attended the 41-year-old’s former acting school, Studio 4, have come forward accusing him of promoting "widespread inappropriate and sexually charged behaviour", NY Post reported.

Sarah Tither-Kaplan and Toni Gaal alleged in a lawsuit filed at the Los Angeles County Superior Court that the A-lister had subjected them to sexually exploitative auditions and filmed shoots during which he promised them movie roles, TMZ reported.

According to Time, the women were enrolled in James' Studio 4 acting programme where they forked out monthly tuition of $300 (around R4 500) and an additional fee of $750  (around R11 300) for masterclasses which included sex scenes.

In the detailed lawsuit, the women alleged the award-winning actor and his partners "engaged in widespread inappropriate and sexually charged behaviour towards female students by sexualising their power as a teacher and an employer by dangling the opportunity for roles in their projects".

The women also added that this "led to an environment of harassment and sexual exploitation both in and out of the class".

James’ lawyer, Michael Plonsker, has denied the accusations made against his client and described the lawsuit as "ill-informed", the Guardian reported.

"James will not only fully defend himself but will also seek damages from the plaintiffs and their attorneys for filing this scurrilous publicity-seeking lawsuit," Plonsker said.

This is not the first sexual allegation made against James. In 2018, the New York Times cancelled a public event with him following other allegations.

(Sources: NY PostTMZ, Time, Guardian)

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