Two of his accusers are now offering suggestions: Apologize, and start offering better opportunities for women.
“Please just apologize,” comedy writer Violet Paley said on “Good Morning America” Tuesday.
Paley decided to share her past experience with the actor after spotting him at the Golden Globes earlier this month wearing a #TimesUp pin in support of the anti-sexual-harassment initiative. Over Twitter, she said Franco had pursued at least two underaged girls, and once tried to force her to perform oral sex on a date.
“I just didn’t want him to hate me, so I did it,” she told the Los Angeles Times.
Filmmaker Sarah Tither-Kaplan, an accuser who appeared with Paley on “Good Morning America,” suggested Franco use “his power to give opportunities to women that are real and valuable.”
Franco has many roles in the entertainment industry, including director and acting teacher, that have allowed him to support up-and-coming talent. Tither-Kaplan was one of his students.
She said Franco exploited female performers in a class on sex scenes by adding sex and nudity to scripts without fully explaining the artistic value. Women who felt uncomfortable were “asked to leave or just not asked to be in the projects.”
Still, Tither-Kaplan said she sees a path to redemption for the actor, who briefly stepped out of the limelight after a handful of women spoke out against him.
“He’s not an unforgivable person, at least for me,” Tither-Kaplan said, adding that Franco “is absolutely not a Harvey Weinstein.”
“It’s a pyramid. At the top is rape and sexual violence and at the bottom are other abuses of power that, when they continue to happen, build and build and build until they create a culture that allows the most heinous examples of sexual violence and misogyny and discrimination to happen,” Tither-Kaplan said.
The women’s comments come as the discussion on sexual abuse, sparked by a series of bombshell reports on former producer Weinstein, has widened to encompass a nuanced variety of unwanted behavior by high-profile men.
Franco, after earning a Golden Globe and a Critics Choice Award for his performance in “The Disaster Artist,” was noticeably absent from the list of Oscar nominees released early Tuesday, leading to speculation that the accusations contributed to the snub.