Actor James Franco has opened up about his sexual misconduct allegations for the first time in a revealing interview.
Franco broke his silence nearly 18 months after he settled a $US2.2 million ($3 million) lawsuit that claimed he coerced acting students into sexually explicit scenes.
He discussed the allegations and his history with addiction on The Jess Cagle podcast on Thursday in the actor’s first sit-down interview in almost four years.
“Look, I’ll admit I did sleep with students. I didn’t sleep with anybody in [my ‘Sex Scenes’ class], but, over the course of my teaching, I did sleep with students and that was wrong,” Franco told the SiriusXM program.
“But like I said, it’s not why I started the school … 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.”
In 2018, five women accused Franco of sexually inappropriate behaviour.
Four of the victims, whose stories were told in an article in The Los Angeles Times, had been the actor’s students.
Further accusations said Franco “abused his power by exploiting the non-celebrity women that he worked with under the guise of giving them opportunities”.
Franco said he “needed” to stay silent and listen to the allegations about him.
“In 2018, there were some complaints about me and an article about me,” he said.
“At that moment I just thought, ‘I’m gonna be quiet. I’m gonna pause.’ [It] did not seem like the right time to say anything.
“There were people that were upset with me and I needed to listen.”
In the in-depth interview, Franco acknowledged his inability to be faithful at the time of his problems. He said he had little regard for his partners’ feelings until he began dating his current girlfriend Isabel Pakzad.
“I had girlfriends. I could never be faithful to anybody. I cheated on everyone before Isabel,”
“I was completely blind to power dynamics or anything like that … I didn’t wanna hurt people.”
He also discussed his past problems with alcohol addiction, which later spiralled into an addiction to sex and validation, after he gave up the booze as a teenager.
He explained attention he received from women was “such a powerful drug” that it had him “hooked on it for 20 more years”.
“Along the road of trying to get success and climb the top of that mountain, attention from women, success with women also became a huge source of validation for me,” Franco said.
“The problem with that is, as I’m sure you can guess, is that there’s never enough. I’m just trying to fill that hole and it never gets filled.”