Maggie Gyllenhaal doesn’t take sexual assault accusations lightly — even if they involve someone she’s currently working with.
The actress, who co-stars alongside James Franco on HBO’s “The Deuce,” spoke about the numerous allegations against Franco, as well as the decision to keep him on the cast, during a Tuesday interview with “Sway in the Morning” host Sway Calloway on SiriusXM radio.
Gyllenhaal, who is also a producer on “The Deuce,” said that she and others involved with the show took the allegations against Franco “very seriously” when they came out.
“I felt it was my responsibility to do the opposite of ignore it,” she told the host. “We spoke to every woman on the crew and in the cast to find out if they felt respected and what their experience of working with James was and everyone said that they had been totally respected by him.”
In January, the Los Angeles Times published a report detailing five women’s allegations against the 40-year-old actor.
One actress, for instance, accused him of removing the little plastic shields that guard actresses’ genitalia during an orgy scene that also involved simulated oral sex, while two student actresses both recalled tense on-set incidents in which Franco became vexed over the fact that no women would consent to being topless during the shoot.
Franco’s attorney, Michael Plonsker, told the LA Times that the accusations are “not accurate,” and also directed reporters to Franco’s appearance on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” for further comment on the matter..
“Look, in my life I pride myself on taking responsibility for things that I have done,” Franco told Colbert at the time. “I have to do that to maintain my well being. ... But I completely support people coming out and being able to have a voice because they didn’t have a voice for so long. So I don’t want to shut them down in any way.”
Earlier this month, actress Busy Philipps, who worked with Franco on the hit 1990’s show “Freaks and Geeks,” alleged in her soon-to-be-released memoir that Franco once assaulted her while they were filming a scene together, pushing her onto the ground in a move he later explained as being in line with his character’s motivations.
Philipps took to Instagram on Tuesday to confirm that Franco had apologized to her over the incident.
“James apologized. I accepted. And I still get to tell it because it fucking happened to me,” she wrote.
Franco, meanwhile, has continued to star in the HBO series alongside Gyllenhaal despite these allegations.
Gyllenhaal explained that the show, which delves deep into the intricacies of the sex industry and the people who shaped it in 1970’s New York City, deals with subjects, such as misogyny, that are more relevant now than ever.
“Another thing that was really important was our show is about, like I said, it’s about misogyny,” Gyllenhaal said, according to Fox. “It’s about transactional sex. It’s about inequality in the entertainment business. You couldn’t be more at the center of that conversation than ‘The Deuce.’ To me, I thought I want to keep telling this story, I want to keep playing Candy and going deep into, like, really what it’s like from a woman’s perspective to be dealing with all the stuff that is on everybody’s minds right now.”
Shutting the show down, she added, would have been the “wrong consequence” to the allegations against Franco.
“It would’ve been, like, the opposite of the right thing to do. And yet I believe that there should be consequences for disrespecting or assaulting women. Of course I do,” she told Sway.
[Photo Credit: Getty]