James Franco has agreed to pay $2,235,000 to resolve a lawsuit alleging he pushed acting students into performing explicit sex scenes on camera.
The details of the settlement were revealed in court filings made public this past week. The proposed deal is being put to a Los Angeles judge for approval.
Two former students in Franco’s acting class, Sarah Tither-Kaplan and Toni Gaal, led the lawsuit in October 2020. The complaint alleged that those who were taught by Franco at Studio 4 Film School in New York and Los Angeles were the victims of fraud.
Usually, with settlements, the terms remain confidential, but that’s not typically when it is a class action, that is not the case. In such instances, a judge needs to review the fairness of the settlement for those who are benefiting but not appearing in court.
Tither-Kaplan is getting $670,500, minus $223,500 less in fees going to the lawyers.
Gaal will get $223,500, minus $74,500 to the lawyers. The other students would get almost two-thirds of the remaining $1.341 million, with the lawyers’ total take being around $827,000.
In addition, Franco has also agreed to “non-economic” terms for the individual plaintiffs, although that’s presently the subject of a motion to seal.
The settlement will require Tither-Kaplan and Gaal to release claims, with the other students releasing fraud claims against the star actor. Those who are members of the class would have a few of months to opt-out.
Unclaimed money would go as a contribution to the National Women’s Law Center. As part of the settlement, the parties have also agreed to a statement that reads in part:
“While Defendants continue to deny the allegations in the Complaint, they acknowledge that Plaintiffs have raised important issues; and all parties strongly believe that now is a critical time to focus on addressing the mistreatment of women in Hollywood. All agree on the need to make sure that no one in the entertainment industry — regardless of race, religion, disability, ethnicity, background, gender or sexual orientation — faces discrimination, harassment or prejudice of any kind.”
In light of recent events, Tither-Kaplan posted to Twitter, reminding industry-higher ups what needs to happen moving forward.
“Seeing a lot of industry people tweet about how much they believe and support survivors today. That support is only meaningful if you actively help reintegrate them into the industry. Follow them! Hire them! At the very least help dismantle blacklisting and retaliation.”
With a background in the creative and educational fields, Amelia Finefrock is freelance writer, singer-songwriter and nanny based in Chicago.
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