James Franco Settles Sexual Misconduct Lawsuit Filed by Former Students
By Jennifer Drysdale
Kevin Winter/Getty Images
James Franco has reached a settlement in a 2019 lawsuit by former students at his now-defunct Studio 4 acting school, ET confirms. The suit was filed by two women, Sarah Tither-Kaplan and Toni Gaal, who accused Franco of creating an environment of harassment and sexual exploitation.
Franco's attorney, Michael Plonsker, denied the claims in a previous statement to ET.
Tither-Kaplan and Gaal have agreed to drop their individual claims in a joint status filed on Feb. 11. Their sexual exploitation claims are also being dismissed without prejudice, so they can be re-filed. Allegations of fraud brought forward in the suit will be subject to limited release. It is not clear how much money was involved in the settlement.
Valli Kane & Vagnini, who are representing Tither-Kaplan and Gaal, said in a statement to ET, "The Plaintiffs can confirm that the Parties filed a Joint Status Report notifying the Court of a tentative settlement. The settlement will be further memorialized in a Joint Stipulation of Settlement to be filed with the Court at a later date."
In their suit, Tither-Kaplan and Gaal claimed Studio 4 was a scheme to provide Franco and his male partners with young women they could take advantage of. They alleged they were subjected to sexually exploitative auditions and film shoots with promises of getting roles in movies that never materialized or were released.
In a statement to ET in 2019, Franco's attorney, Plonsker, denied the claims. "This is not the first time that these claims have been made and they have already been debunked," he said, adding, "James will not only fully defend himself, but will also seek damages from the plaintiffs and their attorneys for filing this scurrilous publicity seeking lawsuit."