FILE - This Sept. 5, 2019 file photo shows James Franco at the premiere of HBO's "The Deuce" third and final season in New York. Two actresses have sued Franco and his former acting and film school, saying they were pushed into gratuitous and exploitative sexual situations as his students. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP, File)

James Franco’s ex-students sue alleging sexual impropriety

October 03, 2019 - 7:07 pm

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Two actresses have sued James Franco and the acting and film school he founded, saying the actor intimidated his students into gratuitous and exploitative sexual situations.

Sarah Tither-Kaplan and Toni Gaal, former students at Franco’s now-closed Studio 4, filed the lawsuit Thursday in Los Angeles Superior Court.

Their lawsuit says Franco pushed his students into performing in increasingly explicit sex scenes on camera in an “orgy type setting.” The women say roles in Franco’s films would be dangled to those who went along.

Tither-Kaplan spoke of her experience with Franco previously with the Los Angeles Times, on “Good Morning America" and on Twitter. Gaal is coming forward for the first time.

Franco’s publicist did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment. He has previously called similar allegations inaccurate.

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This story has been corrected to show that the name of the school Franco founded is Studio 4, not Studio 24.

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