James Franco says his ex-students jumped on #MeToo ‘bandwagon’

James Franco has asked a court to throw out a class-action suit brought by his former students, saying they are exploiting the #MeToo movement and have “ensnared an innocent man.”

Franco’s attorneys filed a demurrer on Friday, charging that the lawsuit was salacious and false, and that it was filed “with the obvious goal of grabbing as much publicity as possible for attention-hungry plaintiffs.”

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James Franco faces allegations
James Franco attends the premiere of HBO's "The Deuce" third and final season at Metrograph on Thursday, Sept. 5, 2019, in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)
James Franco attends the premiere of HBO's "The Deuce" third and final season at Metrograph on Thursday, Sept. 5, 2019, in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)
File Photo by: Galaxy/STAR MAX/IPx 2018 1/7/18 James Franco at the 75th Annual Golden Globe Awards. (Beverly Hills, CA)
File Photo by: RE/Westcom/STAR MAX/IPx 2016 12/17/16 James Franco at the premiere of "Why Him?". (Los Angeles, CA)
File Photo by: DP/AAD/STAR MAX/IPx 2013 2/28/13 James Franco arriving at the European premiere of "Oz The Great And Powerful" at the Empire Cinema in Leicester Square in London, England.
File Photo by: KGC-11/STAR MAX/IPx 2012 4/24/12 James Franco at CinemaCon. (Las Vegas, Nevada)
File Photo by: Dennis Van Tine/STAR MAX/IPx 2015 4/16/15 James Franco at the premiere of "The Adderall Diaries" during the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival. (NYC)
File Photo by: gotpap/STAR MAX/IPx 2017 1/7/17 James Franco at The Art of Elysium Gala. (Los Angeles, CA)
File Photo by: KGC-146/STAR MAX/IPx 2014 9/6/14 James Franco at the premiere of "The Sound and The Fury" during the Toronto International Film Festival. (Toronto, Canada)
File Photo by: KGC-146/STAR MAX/IPx 2017 11/27/17 James Franco at the 27th Annual IFP Gotham Awards in New York City. (NYC)
James Franco arrives at the 75th annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 7, 2018, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
James Franco is seen at the Golden Globes Official After Party sponsored by Lindt Chocolate on Sunday, Jan. 7, 2018 in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision for Lindt Chocolate/AP Images)
James Franco attends the 2018 BAFTA Los Angeles Awards Season Tea Party on Saturday, Jan. 6, 2018, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)
James Franco poses for photographers upon arrival at the 33rd Annual Film Independent Spirit Award Nominee Brunch at BOA Steakhouse on Saturday, Jan. 6, 2018, in Los Angeles (Photo by Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP)
In this Nov. 15, 2017 photo, James Franco poses for a portrait in New York to promote his film, "The Disaster Artist." (Photo by Taylor Jewell/Invision/AP)
Actor James Franco accept the best actor award for "The Disaster Artist " at the 27th annual Independent Film Project's Gotham Awards at Cipriani Wall Street on Monday, Nov. 27, 2017, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)
Actor and director James Franco attends the 27th annual Independent Film Project's Gotham Awards at Cipriani Wall Street on Monday, Nov. 27, 2017, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)
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Two former students, Sarah Tither-Kaplan and Toni Gaal, filed the suit in October, alleging that Franco’s acting school, Studio 4, was little more than an opportunity for him and his friends to exploit young women. They alleged that female students were objectified, and that those who were willing to disrobe were afforded special treatment.

Franco taught a “master class” on sex scenes. The suit alleged that in auditions, students were pressured to engage in sexual activity that went beyond the industry norm.

Tither-Kaplan first came forward in January 2018, in a story in the Los Angeles Times, at the height of the #MeToo movement that followed the revelations about Harvey Weinstein.

In the demurrer, Franco’s attorneys allege that Tither-Kaplan decided “to jump on the bandwagon and insert herself into the media’s insatiable appetite to ruin the next celebrity.”

The demurrer describes Franco as “an ardent believer in the righteousness of the #MeToo and Times Up movements.” It argues that the movements have brought down many “reprehensible individuals,” but that in this case, “they have also ensnared an innocent man.”

“Franco is doing what is best for him: forcefully denying the scurrilous and false accusations but supporting his accusers’ right to their day in court,” his attorneys wrote. “In the end, Franco is confident that he will be vindicated.”

The demurrer also argues that Tither-Kaplan’s allegations are barred by the statute of limitations, and quotes from several of her tweets in which she praised the school, calling it “an amazing experience.” 

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