James Franco admits to sleeping with students at acting school

·3-min read

James Franco has admitted to sleeping with students from the acting school he used to run.

In January 2018, five women accused the 127 Hours star of sexual misconduct while serving as their acting teacher in an article in the Los Angeles Times. The following year, two former students of the now-defunct school filed a civil suit against him, accusing him of sexually exploitative behaviour.

At the time, Franco insisted the allegations were "not accurate", but said he did not want to "shut down" people who "did not have a voice".

Addressing the allegations for the first time in almost four years, the 43-year-old admitted on The Jess Cagle Podcast that he "did sleep with students, and that was wrong."

He insisted that he did not open the school - Studio 4 - explicitly to have sexual relationships with women, but confessed, "I suppose at the time, my thinking was if it's consensual, OK."

The Disaster Artist star opened up about being addicted to sex and said at the time of the encounters he was "not clearheaded". Franco explained that the addiction developed after he became sober following years of alcoholism.

"It's such a powerful drug," he said. "I got hooked on it for 20 more years. The insidious part of that is that I stayed sober from alcohol all that time. So, and I went to meetings, you know, all that time. I even tried to sponsor other people. And so in my head, it was like, 'Oh, I'm sober. I'm living a spiritual life.' Where on the side, I'm acting out now in all these other ways. And I couldn't see it."

The Pineapple Express star clarified that he chose to stay silent about the allegations for years because he "needed to listen" and "pause".

"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... apologise, you know, get it done," he continued. "But what that doesn't do is allow you to do the work, and to look at what was underneath, like, whatever you did... there's probably an iceberg underneath that, of behaviour, of patterning, of just being blind to yourself that isn't gonna just be solved overnight."

"So I've just been doing a lot of work. And I guess I'm pretty confident in saying like, four years, you know? And, I was in recovery before for substance abuse. And, there were some issues that I had to deal with that were also related to addiction. And so I've really used my recovery background to kind of start examining this and, and changing who I was," he concluded.

Earlier this year, Franco agreed to pay $2.2 million (£1.6 million) to settle civil lawsuits filed by his former students.

His acting school, Studio 4, was located in New York and Los Angeles and it closed in 2017.

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