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James Franco has broken his silence nearly four years after being accused of sexual misconduct by several women. Some of Franco’s accusers included students of his Studio 4 acting school. Here’s what Franco said and why he’s speaking out now.

James Franco poses at an event.
James Franco | Taylor Hill/WireImage

James Franco was accused of sexual misconduct by multiple women, including his students

In January 2018, the LA Times published an article in which five women accused James Franco of sexual misconduct. Four were his acting students, and one described him as a mentor. 

“I feel there was an abuse of power, and there was a culture of exploiting non-celebrity women, and a culture of women being replaceable,” said Sarah Tither-Kaplan, one of Franco’s accusers. She also stated, “I got it in my head pretty quickly that, OK, you don’t say ‘no’ to this guy.”

Another student, Hilary Dusome, said, “I felt like I was selected for something based on my hard work and my merit, and when I realized it was because I have nice [breasts], it was pretty clear that was not the case.” She added, “I don’t think he started teaching with bad intentions, but he went down a bad path and damaged a lot of people in the process.”

Katie Ryan, another Studio 4 student, claimed Franco “would always make everybody think there were possible roles on the table if we were to perform sexual acts or take off our shirts.”

Franco responded to the accusations at the time by saying, “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, you know, shut them down in any way.”

James Franco claims he was addicted to sex

The Freaks and Geeks star broke his silence about the accusations in a Dec. 22 interview for SiriusXM’s “The Jess Cagle Podcast.”

He started by explaining why he was speaking out now after staying quiet about the sexual misconduct allegations for years.

“I’ve just been doing a lot of work,” Franco said. “And I guess I’m pretty confident in saying like, four years, you know?”

The actor went on to say that he had previously sought treatment for substance addiction but found himself subsequently addicted to sex. 

“It’s such a powerful drug,” he said. “I got hooked on it for 20 more years. The insidious part of that is that I stayed sober from alcohol all that time. And I went to meetings all that time. I even tried to sponsor other people. So in my head, it was like, ‘Oh, I’m sober. I’m living a spiritual life.’ Where on the side, I’m acting out now in all these other ways, and I couldn’t see it.”

James Franco smiles for the camera at an event.
James Franco | Michael Tran/FilmMagic

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Franco confessed, “Over the course of my teaching, I did sleep with students, and that was wrong.”

The Interview star added that he had good intentions, and he didn’t start teaching to take advantage of students. “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 a student, and I shouldn’t have been.”

Franco said he “didn’t want to hurt people,” but “the behavior spun out to a point where it was like [he] was hurting everybody.”

How to get help: If you or someone you know has been sexually abused, text HOME to the Crisis Text Line at 741741 for free and confidential support.

How to get help: In the U.S., contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration helpline at 1-800-662-4357.