James Franco broke his silence about the accusations of his sexual misconduct made four years ago in a new tell-all interview. 

“In 2018, there were some complaints about me and an article about me, and at that moment, I just thought, ‘I’m gonna be quiet. I’m gonna be, I’m gonna pause.’ Did not seem like the right time to say anything,” the In Dubious Battle actor, 43, recalled during an appearance on SiriusXM’s “The Jess Cagle” podcast, while explaining why he was now ready to speak out about the allegations. 

Back in January 2018, Franco made headlines when five women, four of whom were his former acting students, made the accusations in an editorial piece by The Los Angeles Times. The Oscar-nominated performer previously owned an acting school, Playhouse West Studio 4, which was open from 2014 to 2017.

One of his alleged victims, Sarah Tither-Kaplan, claimed in 2018 that Franco “abused his power by exploiting the non-celebrity women that he worked with under the guise of giving them opportunities.”

Franco said that he did sleep with some of his students. “I didn’t sleep with anybody in that particular class. But over the course of my teaching, I did sleep with students and that was wrong. But like I said, it’s not why I started the school and I wasn’t the person that selected the people to be in the class. So, it wasn’t a master plan on my part. But yes, there were certain instances where, you know, what I was in a consensual thing with a student, and I shouldn’t have been.”

Franco later reached a settlement with Tither-Kaplan and Toni Gaal — two of his former acting pupils who filed a lawsuit against him in 2019 — for which he reportedly paid them $2,235,000. As part of the deal reached in 2021, Tither-Kaplan and Gaal agreed to drop their individual claims, Us Weekly reported at the time.

“There were people that were upset with me, and I needed to listen,” Franco said about why he kept mum on the subject in hindsight, confessing that he struggled with sex addiction for years after weening himself off alcohol when he was younger. 

“There’s a writer Damon Young, and he talked about when something like this happens, the natural human instinct is to just make it stop. You just want to get out in front of it and whatever you have to do apologize, you know, get it done. But what that doesn’t do is allow you to do the work to and to look at what was underneath.”

James Franco

Franco explained that he felt as though he was leading a “spiritual life” at the time because he was no longer dependent on alcohol, revealing it led to him “acting out” in other ways. The 11.22.63 star also said that he “cheated on everyone” before he started dating current girlfriend Isabel Pakzad, telling Cagle that he was “completely blind to power dynamics or anything like that but also completely blind to people’s feelings.” 

“I didn’t want to hurt people,” Franco said. “In fact, I wasn’t really a one-night-stand guy. People that I got together with or dated, I’d see them for a long time, years. It’s just that I couldn’t be present for any of them. And the behavior spun out to a point where it was like I was hurting everybody.” 

Franco said that he’s been doing a lot of work on himself since, and he also had another reason for doing the interview — the people who were closest to him.

“It’s one of the main reasons I wanted to talk to you today,” he added. “I don’t want Seth [Rogen] or my brother [Dave Franco] or anyone to have to answer for me anymore.”

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