Actress Charlyne Yi revealed some shocking behind-the-scenes details about The Disaster Artist this week, including her attempts to quit the film before it was finished. Yi played Safoya in the 2017 film, which came out around the time that sexual misconduct allegations against director James Franco were in the headlines. Yi said that producers actually tried to bribe her to not leave the cast.
Yi started sharing her story on Wednesday, April 7 with a post questioning why some self-proclaimed male feminists seemed to be helping to rehabilitate Franco's public image. She called out Seth Rogen specifically, saying that he is complicit in normalizing Franco's alleged behavior. On Thursday, she wrote: "When I tried to break legal contract and quit Disaster Artist because James Franco is a sexual predator, they tried to bribe me with a bigger acting role. I cried and told them that that was the exact opposite of what I wanted, that I didn't feel safe working with a f—ing sexual predator."
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"They minimized and said Franco being a predator was so last [year] and that he changed," she went on. "When I literally heard of him abusing new women that week. Predators will perform empathy, gaslight, and say they will do better — all in order to protect themselves and continue to harm others."
"Enablers are just as toxic and are abusers too," Yi went on. "Disgusted by white men choosing power over protecting children and women from predators. Educate, organize, and dismantle corruption in your circles and in the law. White men saying it's not their responsibility when holding Franco accountable, or when holding Seth Rogen and enablers accountable. Then whose responsibility is it? The women and children who have PTSD from Franco? Or the future targets of abuse?"
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The conversation has continued since then, including Saturday morning, when Yi made a new post suggesting that Franco is a "psychopath." She wrote: "The reporters who interviewed the women that spoke out against Franco should have been trauma informed, educated themselves on psychopaths, predatory behavior, survivors with CPTSD/PTSD, and made a foundation to support them. The people who gave Franco a platform should have done all of the above, and understood the power imbalance: Franco being a celebrity with power, money, expensive powerful lawyer, already psychologically abused them so they are triggered even defending themselves — and is offered huge TV platforms to gaslight survivors, sending his supporters to target those women."
Franco has been accused of a wide range of sexual misconduct from 2014 to the present. This includes allegedly soliciting sex from a 17-year-old girl, leveraging his influence to have sex with his acting students when he was teaching at colleges, and simulating sex with collaborators on the set of real projects where he made people uncomfortable. Most of these allegations were thoroughly outlined in a 2019 report by The New York Times, which focused on "sexually exploitative auditions and film shoots" by Franco's acting students.
Franco has denied many of these allegations or said that they are misrepresented in public reports. He has also voiced support for the "Me Too" movement and the "Time's Up" campaign. Franco had only one appearance on screen in 2020, and he has one project in post-production now, with no release date scheduled.