James Franco absent from Critics Choice Awards amid sexual misconduct allegations

Violet Paley

Violet Paley @VioletPaley

The number of women who have accused actor James Franco of sexual misconduct has now gone up to five, overshadowing his Golden Globe and Critics Choice Awards wins.

Franco attended the Golden Globes on Sunday where he sported a "Time's Up" pin supporting the movement against sexual harassment and assault in the workplace.

Five women told the Times that Franco, 39, abused his power as an acting teacher at Studio 4 in NY and Los Angeles. In 2014, he used Instagram to ask a 17-year-old girl he'd met outside a NY theater if she had a boyfriend and whether she was 18. Franco was speaking to a 2014 accusation that he'd been involved in at least one questionable sexual exchange with an underage woman.

"I feel there was an abuse of power, and there was a culture of exploiting non-celebrity women, and a culture of women being replaceable", Tither-Kaplan told the Times.

All of the women - Hilary Dusome, Natalie Chmiel and Katie Ryan - were former acting students of the star.

Franco's attorney, Michael Plonsker, disputed all of the women's allegations. Once they parked, Paley said Franco pressured her to perform oral sex on him. "Sometimes I just want to leave L.A.", says Paley, a writer and filmmaker, but "I think it's still worth it because of that feeling of knowing that you're helping someone else and standing up for what you know is right". "Our instructors were excellent, student feedback was positive and this recent tweet from a former student is very inconsistent with the mission of the school, and we are investigating this matter".

Two of the women, Sarah Tither-Kaplan and Violet Paley, had immediately tweeted about the actor's "Time's Up" pin and described how he had treated them in the past. "There are stories that need to get out", Franco told Meyers.

James Franco speaks onstage during at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on July 26, 2017 in Beverly Hills, Calif. I got really nervous, and I said, "Can we do this later?' He was kind of nudging my head down, and I just didn't want him to hate me, so I did it". So, if I've done something wrong, I will fix it.

She also claims she and her female co-stars were asked to appear topless and dance around Franco in an unscripted scene. Franco isn't discussing the specifics of the allegations.

"I was just like: 'Well, now no one is going to believe me, '" she told TIME on Thursday.

But she said the negative experiences were "red flags".

"He's done a lot of damage on me", she said. Four of the women who have accused Franco of sexual misconduct were his students, while another accuser claimed that he was her mentor.

HBO said that it has reached out to key players on the show during its first season and found no instances of complaints or questionable behavior by Franco, and that there has been no change to his status on the show for Season 2, which begins production later this year.

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