Sharon Stone has come out in defense of James Franco, after the actor and director was accused of sexual misconduct by a total of five women earlier this year.
Stone appeared alongside Franco in The Disaster Artist in 2017, the movie in which Franco starred as notoriously aggressive filmmaker Tommy Wiseau. Franco also directed the film, reportedly staying in character as Wiseau on set. He won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Drama on Jan. 7, which prompted a number of allegations against him to resurface or bubble up for the first time. Franco was wearing a Time's Up pin at the ceremony, infuriating some viewers.
However, Stone contradicted all of the negative press Franco has received in the last two months during her recent appearance on Marc Maron's WTF Podcast. The 60-year-old actress called Franco "the loveliest, kindest, sweetest, elegant, nicest man."
“I’m appalled by this thing about him that is happening,” she said. “Now all of a sudden he’s a bad guy? I worked with him, I know him. … He’s a kind friend, lovely professional. I’m absolutely appalled by this.”
Stone added that she fully supports the Me Too movement and the Time's Up campaign, saying that in her nearly four decades spent in Hollywood, she has "seen it all." However, she said that she wants accused men to be tried through the judicial system rather than the court of public opinion.
“I don’t feel like these trials without due process are entirely appropriate,” Stone said. “I feel that it’s appropriate that people have to take responsibility for the actions, but I do feel that some due process is in order.”
“There’s a range of activities. And you can’t charge somebody with a felony over a misdemeanor,” she went on. “There has to be a balance here where this has to be heard in a rational format. So this isn’t just black and white. And it can’t be that every man who doesn’t know what the f— he’s doing in life is a criminal. ‘Cause a lot of men are just stupid.”
Stone even told Maron that, in the wake of this social revolution, she has personally confronted men who have harassed her in the past. She opted not to identify any of them, saying that she told them “‘I’m not naming names and ruining lives, but if I was, I would name names and ruin your life.’"
“Some men are just incredibly stupid,” she said. “You go out with them, they bring you home for a good-night kiss and they grab your hand and put it on their penis. A 50-year-old man. I don’t think they’re trying to sexually harass me, I think they’re just incredibly stupid and awkward. Like, really? That’s your move? Please don’t ever call me again, because you’re too stupid to date. I don’t think I should ruin your whole life over that but I just think you’re incredibly stupid.”
Franco has kept out of the spotlight since the accusations broke; however, he has returned to work on his HBO original series The Deuce. His lawyer has categorically denied all the claims levelled against him, citing Franco's appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert as his official denial.
"The things that I heard that were on Twitter are not accurate," Franco told the late night host. "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.”