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'That Was Wrong,' James Franco Admits Sex With Students, Says He 'Let A Lot Of People Down'

"I did sleep with students and that was wrong.” actor James Franco said in a recent interview with SiriusXM's Jess Cagle.

 

James Franco G

Actor James Franco has admitted to having sex with some of his students during a recent interview.

“Look, I’ll admit I did sleep with students,” the 43-year-old actor told SiriusXM’s Jess Cagle in an interview that was uploaded to Sirius’ YouTube on Wednesday. "[...]Over the course of my teaching, I did sleep with students and that was wrong.” 

He maintained though, that he didn't understand the power dynamic at the time.

“But like I said, I, it’s not why I started the school and I, I didn’t, I wasn’t the person that selected the people to be in the class,” he said. “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, with a student and I shouldn’t have been.”

He said at the time he thought it was okay because the sex was “consensual” but admits that he was “not clearheaded.”

Earlier this year, Franco agreed to pay $2.2 million dollars to settle a pair of lawsuits alleging sexual misconduct and fraud in relation to his now-defunct acting school, Studio 4 which closed permanently in 2017.

Former students Sarah Tither-Kaplan and Toni Gaal filed a suit in 2019 in Los Angeles County Superior Court claiming that Franco and his business partners “engaged in widespread inappropriate and sexually charged behavior towards female students by sexualizing their power as a teacher and an employer by dangling the opportunity for roles in their projects,” The New York Times reported at the time. 

The lawsuit alleged that these actions “led to an environment of harassment and sexual exploitation both in and out of the class” Tither-Kaplan and Toni Gaal claimed that they themselves were both subjected to sexually exploitative auditions and film shoots.  

Of the $2.2 million in settlement money, $894,000 was expected to settle the sexual exploitation claims. The $1,341,000 would further settle fraud claims from about 1,500 former students that were part of a second lawsuit, the New York Times reported. Franco did not admit any wrongdoing in the settlement. 

“I let a lot of people down. I let my students down," Franco told Cagle in the interview. In it, he also claimed he has battled sex addiction and cheated on every girlfriend he has had with the exception of his current girlfriend Izabel Pakzad.

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