James Franco fumbled his way through a conversation to address allegations of sexual harassment for the first time on Tuesday.
Following an otherwise light-hearted interview on The Late Show, Stephen Colbert asked Franco’s permission to discuss the allegations of sexual misconduct that surfaced during and after the Golden Globes on Sunday.
Franco won Best Actor for his lead role in The Disaster Artist during the show, but he also donned a “Time’s Up” pin on his suit in solidarity with victims of various gender inequalities. Some women on Twitter slammed the actor during the ceremony, accusing him of hypocrisy for his own treatment of female colleagues.
After sharing some general information about the "Time's Up" movement, he jumped in to defend himself against the allegations.
“First of all, I have no idea what I did to Ally Sheedy,” Franco said. “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 upset.”
During the ceremony, actress Ally Sheedy tweeted following Franco’s win citing it as an example of “why I left the film/tv business,” though the post was later deleted.
Franco told Colbert he had only “heard” of other allegations on Twitter; he had not read them for himself. Those tweets included one from actress Violet Paley, who accused him of pressing her head toward his privates in a car they shared, and another from actress Sarah Tither-Kaplan, who called nude scenes in his indie films “exploitative.”
Cute #TIMESUP pin James Franco. Remember the time you pushed my head down in a car towards your exposed penis & that other time you told my friend to come to your hotel when she was 17? After you had already been caught doing that to a different 17 year old?— Violet Paley (@VioletPaley) January 8, 2018
Hey James Franco, nice #timesup pin at the #GoldenGlobes , remember a few weeks ago when you told me the full nudity you had me do in two of your movies for $100/day wasn't exploitative because I signed a contract to do it? Times up on that!— Sarah Tither-Kaplan? (@sarahtk) January 8, 2018
The actor denied what he had been told about these allegations: “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.”
“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.”
Several social media users slammed the actor for wearing a “Time’s Up” pin following his admission in 2014 that he pursued a relationship with a 17-year-old student.
It’s ... rich of James Franco to be wearing a Time’s Up pin ?— Doree Shafrir (@doree) January 8, 2018
Whatever I still remember James Franco trying to pick up a teenager on Instagram— Jessica Valenti (@JessicaValenti) January 8, 2018
Lucy Clode, who was 17 at the time, had gone to see Franco on Broadway in Of Mice and Men, then posted a photo of herself with the actor during his autograph-singing set. Franco, after learning of Clode’s age, continued to send sexually suggestive messages before asking her, “Should I rent a room?” for them at a hotel.
After Clode posted the message exchange online, Franco addressed the controversy during an appearance on Live With Kelly and Michael.
“It’s the way that people meet each other today, but what I’ve learned, I guess because I’m new to it, is you don’t know who’s on the other end,” he said. “I used bad judgement and I learned my lesson.”
Franco was scheduled Wednesday to appear at a TimesTalk for The Disaster Artist, a public event hosted by the New York Times to discuss his artistic venture, but it was canceled following the accusations against the actor.
“Given the controversy surrounding recent allegations, we're no longer comfortable proceeding in that vein,” a Times representative said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter.