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Friday
Oct042019

James Franco sued by two former acting students for alleged sexual exploitation

Lloyd Bishop/NBC(NEW YORK) -- Two former acting students of James Franco filed a class-action lawsuit against his acting school, accusing the actor of inappropriate and sexually charged behavior.

The complaint was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on Thursday by Sarah Tither-Kaplan and Toni Gaal, former students at Franco's now-shuttered Studio 4.  The defendants allege Franco was looking to “create a pipeline of young women who were subjected to his personal and professional sexual exploitation in the name of education.”

This is the first time Gaal has come forward regarding the allegations. Tither-Kaplan previously spoke of her encounters with Franco with the Los Angeles TimesGood Morning America, and on Twitter.

"Hey James Franco, nice #timesup pin at the #GoldenGlobes," Tither-Kaplan tweeted in January of 2018, referring to the “Time’s Up” pin Franco wore while accepting best lead actor in a comedy for The Disaster Artist.

"Remember a few weeks ago when you told me the full nudity you had me do in two of your movies for $100/day wasn't exploitative because I signed a contract to do it?" she continued.  "Times up on that!"

Tither-Kaplan was one of five women who came forward to accuse Franco of inappropriate or sexually exploitative behavior at the time.  Four were his acting students while another claimed Franco was her mentor.

In a statement obtained by ABC News, Franco's attorney, Michael Plonsker, says, "This is not the first time that these claims have been made and they have already been debunked."

"We have not had an opportunity to review the ill-informed Complaint in depth since it was leaked to the press before it was filed and our client has yet to even be served," the statement continues.  "James will not only fully defend himself, but will also seek damages from the plaintiffs and their attorneys for filing this scurrilous publicity seeking lawsuit." 

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