James Franco and his associated entities have agreed to pay $2.2 million to resolve a lawsuit alleging he pushed students at his now-shuttered controversial acting school into performing explicit sex scenes on camera. The $2,235,000 settlement figure was first made public Wednesday but still has to be approved by a Los Angeles Superior Court judge.
Although Franco has agreed to pay the settlement, he still has not acknowledged any wrongdoing. "While Defendants continue to deny the allegations in the Complaint, they acknowledge that Plaintiffs have raised important issues; and all parties strongly believe that now is a critical time to focus on addressing the mistreatment of women in Hollywood," the parties have agreed to state, according to documents obtained by Deadline. "All agree on the need to make sure that no one in the entertainment industry — regardless of race, religion, disability, ethnicity, background, gender or sexual orientation — faces discrimination, harassment or prejudice of any kind."
The $2.2 million will be allocated as such: $894,000 will settle individual sexual exploitation claims of actresses and ex-students Sarah Tither-Kaplan and Toni Gaal, who first filed the lawsuit in 2019, while $1,341,000 will be placed in a common fund to settle the fraud claims "from which 75 percent shall be apportioned to the Master Fraud Class and 25 percent to the General Fraud Class" if a judge signs off on the settlement.
The initial suit was filed two years ago alleging that the Oscar-nominated actor "sought to create a pipeline of young women who were subjected to his personal and professional sexual exploitation in the name of education." Students were allegedly led to believe roles in Franco's films would be the reward for participating in those scenes, which occurred in a master class on sex scenes that Franco taught at Studio 4, which closed in 2017.
In February, a settlement arrangement was made public in which the plaintiffs agreed to drop their individual claims and the sexual exploitation allegations of other plaintiffs in the class action will be dismissed without prejudice. These suits could be re-filed, according to the joint status report, and the fraud allegations brought against Franco and his associated entities are "subjected to limited release," which was not defined further by the document.