James Franco is being accused by five women of being inappropriate or sexually exploitative — and he’s reportedly “hiding” from the fallout.
The actor skipped the Critics’ Choice Awards on Thursday — where he won the award for Best Actor in “The Disaster Artist.” The ceremony took place just hours after the L.A. Times published the stories of the five women.
“He’s in a really bad place, so bad that he changed his phone number,” a source close to the situation told People. “His close friends are trying to be there for him but it’s been hard — he’s only talking to a select group of people. For now, he’s just hiding out.”
Five women told the Times that Franco, 39, abused his power as an acting teacher at Studio 4 in New York and Los Angeles.
» James Franco accused of sexually inappropriate behavior by 5 women, including 4 students
Two of the women, Sarah Tither-Kaplan and Violet Paley, had immediately tweeted about the actor’s “Time’s Up” pin and described how he had treated them in the past.
Paley claimed after beginning a romantic relationship with the Golden Globe winner, he pressured her into performing oral sex on him while they were sitting in a car.
The 23-year-old is now facing backlash for an old tweet she wrote that read: “I like planning ways to ruin someone’s life the moment I meet them.”
She wrote the line back in September of 2017 and is now defending herself against Twitter trolls, who are questioning her intentions in sharing her story about Franco.
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“I use twitter to make jokes most of the time. It was clearly a joke,” she told TMZ. “I’m sorry if I offended anyone and I think most people know it was a joke and the people milking it are Trump-like bot trolls so I’m not deleting it and letting their psychotic twist on a dumb joke win.”
Franco’s attorney Michael Plonsker told the L.A. Times that Paley’s recollection of the incident is “not accurate,” but did not elaborate further.
Plonsker directed the Times to the “Pineapple Express” star’s comments on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” where he stood by his choice to wear the pin.
“Look, in my life I pride myself on taking responsibility for things that I have done,” he told Colbert. “I have to do that to maintain my well-being. The things that I heard that were on Twitter are not accurate. But I completely support people coming out and being able to have a voice because they didn’t have a voice for so long. So I don’t want to shut them down in any way.”
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