In January 2018, at least five women accused James Franco of sexual misconduct. He’s stayed fairly quiet on the subject, only talking to Stephen Colbert in vague terms while declaring, “The things I heard are not accurate, but I completely support people coming out because they didn’t have a voice for so long.” Fast forward nearly four years, and Franco — who has since quietly settled a lawsuit (for $2.2 million) brought by his former acting students, who alleged that he sexually exploited them — is ready to talk.
He did so on SiriusXM’s The Jess Cagle Podcast this week, where Franco talked about a range of related subjects, including the breakdown of his personal and professional relationships with Seth Rogen. Franco chalked up some of his behavior to sex addiction, which he also said led him to cheat on everyone except his current girlfriend. He then explained why he stayed mum on the sexual misconduct allegations. In short, he felt like it was time for him to work on his behavior, rather than openly discuss the subject:
“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. “There were people that were upset with me and I needed to listen. 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.”
Franco did admit to having sex with some of his students (which he called “a consensual thing” but adds that he “shouldn’t” have done so). And on that same subject, he pointed towards “an iceberg underneath that behavior, of patterning, of just being blind to yourself that isn’t gonna just be solved overnight.” His career’s been very low-key since the allegations surfaced, and notably, Franco’s nearly the only Spider-Man franchise actor who did not appear in the multiverse-fueled No Way Home.