David Simon, co-creator of HBO's The Deuce, released a statement regarding the series' star James Franco, who was accused of sexual misconduct by five women on Thursday.
“I’m still reading it the same as everyone else, trying to discern what is or isn’t there,” Simon said. “Personally I can only speak knowledgeably to The Deuce. I’ve checked with all my fellow producers and other personnel. We have no complainant or complaint or any awareness of any incident of concern involving Mr. Franco. Nor has HBO been approached with any complaint. In our experience, he was entirely professional as an actor, director, and producer.”
Simon stands in line with the network's previous statement made to Deadline on Thursday, in which it asserted that there have been no allegations made against Franco in relation to The Deuce.
“We have verified that no complaints about Mr. Franco have come in on The Deuce production,” HBO said.
As Franco issued his acceptance speech for best actor at Sunday night's Golden Globes, actresses Violet Paley and Sarah Tither-Kaplan tweeted allegations against Franco. Then, on Thursday, they — along with three other women — elaborated further in a story published by the Los Angeles Times.
Among the claims, which Franco has previously denied as “not accurate,” the actor was accused of pressuring Paley into performing oral sex on him just after they had entered into a romantic relationship. He was also accused of removing plastic guards while he simulated oral sex on actresses during an orgy scene for his movie The Long Home.
Franco’s attorney, according to the Los Angeles Times, denied the claim about the removal of the plastic guards.
Franco addressed the claims made on Twitter with Stephen Colbert on The Late Show and Seth Meyers on Late Night ahead of the Times' story.
“Yes, I was sent a couple of the tweets, so yeah, I did read them,” Franco told Meyers on Wednesday. “I haven’t responded. I think — well the ones I read were not accurate, but one of the things that I’ve learned is that this is a conversation that obviously needs to be had. There are people, women and others, who have not been a part of this conversation and I truly believe and why I was wearing the [Time's Up] pin is that they need to be a part of this conversation and so I support that.”
“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… I don’t want to shut them down in any way. I think it’s a good thing and I support it,” he told Colbert.
“I can't live if there's restitution to be made. If I've done something wrong, I will fix it. I have to. I don't know what else to do,” Franco continued. “As far as the bigger issue of how we do it, I really don't have the answers. I think the point of this whole thing is that we listen. I'm here to listen and learn and change my perspective where it's off. I'm completely willing and want to.”