James Franco denies sexual misconduct allegations during Colbert interview
James Franco denied sexual misconduct accusations made against him on social media as “not accurate” during an interview with Stephen Colbert on Tuesday’s episode of The Late Show.
“The things that I heard that were on Twitter are not accurate, but I completely support people coming out and being able to have a voice because they didn’t have a voice for so long. So, I don’t want to shut them down in any way. It’s a good thing and I support it,” Franco said.
During Sunday’s Golden Globes ceremony, where Franco won best actor in a musical or comedy for The Disaster Artist, the star was criticized for supporting the Time’s Up movement and accused of sexual misconduct by actress Violet Paley, who claimed Franco “pushed” her head down in a car towards his “exposed penis.” (Paley later tweeted Franco called her recently to apologize.) Another actress, Sarah Tither-Kaplan, urged Franco to “give speaking roles that don’t require nudity in your upcoming films to the dozens of women who have done full nudity and sex scenes in your indie films and art projects.”
In a series of deleted tweets, actress Ally Sheedy also expressed dismay about Franco’s Golden Globes win. “Why is James Franco allowed in? Said too much,” she wrote. Sheedy later added, “James Franco just won. Please never ever ask me why I left the film/tv business.” (The actress worked with Franco in 2014 on his Off-Broadway directorial debut, The Long Shrift.)
“Okay, first of all, I have no idea what I did to Ally Sheedy,” Franco said to Colbert. “I directed her in a play Off Broadway. I had nothing but a great time with her, total respect for her. I have no idea why she was so upset. She took the tweet down. I don’t know. I can’t speak for her, I don’t know. The others, look, in my life I pride myself on taking responsibility for things that I’ve done. I have to do that to maintain my well-being. I do it whenever I know that there is something wrong or needs to be changed, I make it a point to do it.”
Colbert asked Franco if there is “some way to have this conversation that piggybacks on what’s happening in social media” so that “there can be some sort of reconciliation between people who clearly have different views of things.”
“The way I live my life, I can’t live if there’s restitution to be made. I will make it,” Franco said. “So if I’ve done something wrong, I will fix it. I have to. I mean, I think that’s how that works. I don’t know what else, I don’t know what else to do. I mean, as far as the bigger issues, you know, how we do it. I, look, I really don’t have the answers and I think the point of this whole thing is that we listen. You know, there were incredible people talking that night. They had a lot to say, and I’m here to listen and learn and change my perspective where it’s off, and I’m completely willing and want to.”
To donate to the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund, which will provide subsidized legal support to women and men in all industries who have experienced sexual harassment, assault, or abuse in the workplace, visit its GoFundMe page. Learn more about Time’s Up, an organization of women in entertainment combating sexual harassment and inequality, on its website.
In the wake of the sexual misconduct claims, the New York Times canceled an event with Franco. “The event was intended to be a discussion of the making of the film, The Disaster Artist,” the Times said in a statement. “Given the controversy surrounding recent allegations, we’re no longer comfortable proceeding in that vein.”
Watch a clip of the exchange on The Late Show above.