In a recent interview with The Sunday Times, Seth Rogen commented on the state of his working relationship with James Franco. Franco was accused of inappropriate sexual behavior in 2014 and again in 2018, when he was accused by young women from his acting classes for manipulative and inappropriate behavior. Actresses Sarah Tither-Kaplan and Toni Gaal sued Franco, his business partners, and production company for engaging "in widespread inappropriate and sexually charged behavior towards female students by sexualizing their power as a teacher and an employer by dangling the opportunity for roles in their projects." That lawsuit recently reached a preliminary settlement.
Rogen has collaborated with Franco on several projects in the past, including Pineapple Express, The Interview, and The Disaster Artist, so he was asked by The Sunday Times whether or not he believed that the allegations made against Franco were true. "What I can say is that I despise abuse and harassment and I would never cover or conceal the actions of someone doing it, or knowingly put someone in a situation where they were around someone like that," Rogen explained.
Rogen also spoke about a joke that he made about Franco during his 2014 opening monologue while hosting SNL. "I decided to prank James Franco," he joked. "I posed as a girl on Instagram [and] told him I was way young. He seemed unphased. I have a date to meet him at the Ace Hotel." Rogen expressed remorse over the quip, saying he "very much regrets making that joke," calling it "terrible" in hindsight. "I also look back to that interview in 2018 where I comment that I would keep working with James, and the truth is that I have not and I do not plan to right now," Rogen said.
While their working relationship seems to be over, Rogen declined to answer whether or not their friendship was over as well. "I don't know if I can define that right now during this interview," he said. "I can say it, um, you know, it has changed many things in our relationship and our dynamic." When asked whether or not the situation was painful for him, Rogen replied, "Yeah. But not as painful and difficult as it is for a lot of other people involved. I have no pity for myself in this situation."
These comments from Rogen come on the heels of accusations from actress Charlyne Yi, who worked with them on The Disaster Artist, claiming that Rogen enabled Franco's predatory behavior. "White men saying it’s not their responsibility when holding Franco accountable, or when holding Seth Rogen and enablers accountable," Yi wrote on Instagram. "Then whose responsibility is it? The women and children who have PTSD from Franco? Or the future targets of abuse?"
Yi ended up quitting The Disaster Artist because of the allegations made against Franco, but she claimed that producers attempted to bribe her to stay with a larger acting role. Yi refused. "Seth Rogen was one of the producers on this film so he definitely knows about the bribe and why I quit. Seth also did a sketch on SNL with Franco enabling Franco preying on children. Right after Franco was caught. Franco has a long history of preying on children. This is on top all the corrupt laws that protect predators made by violent white men."