After 4 Quiet Years, James Franco Talks

He admits he slept with students, but says it wasn't part of any 'master plan'
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 22, 2021 1:07 PM CST

In January 2018, five women accused James Franco of sexually inappropriate behavior. That same month, he called those claims "not accurate" in an appearance on Stephen Colbert's Late Show. And then ... nothing, for almost four years. The 43-year-old actor has now broken that long silence via an interview on SiriusXM's The Jess Cagle Podcast. In it, he explains his long "pause" and his battle with sex addiction and admits he slept with students (four of the accusers were his acting students). People reports Franco settled with two of those students over the summer, to the tune of $2.2 million. Standout lines from the interview, per People, TMZ, and Fox News:

  • On his long silence: "In 2018, there were some complaints about me and an article about me and, at that moment I just thought 'I'm gonna be quiet. I'm gonna be, I'm gonna pause.' ... There's a writer Damon Young and he talked about when something like this happens, the natural human instinct is to just make it stop. You just want to get out in front of it and whatever you have to do apologize, you know, get it done. But what that doesn't do is allow you to do the work to, and to look at what was underneath."
  • On his long silence II: "I've just been doing a lot of work, and I guess I'm pretty confident in saying like, four years, you know?"
  • On his sex addiction: "It's such a powerful drug. I got hooked on it for 20 more years. The insidious part of that is that I stayed sober from alcohol all that time. And I went to meetings all that time. I even tried to sponsor other people. So in my head, it was like, 'Oh, I'm sober. I'm living a spiritual life.' Where on the side, I'm acting out now in all these other ways, and I couldn't see it."
  • On his tendency to cheat: Prior to girlfriend Isabel Pakzad, who he has dated since 2019, Franco says he "cheated on everyone" and could "never be faithful to anybody. ... I didn't want to hurt people. In fact, I wasn't really a one-night-stand guy. People that I got together with or dated, I'd see them for a long time, years. It's just that I couldn't be present for any of them. And the behavior spun out to a point where it was like I was hurting everybody."
  • On sleeping with students: "That was wrong. But like I said, it's not why I started the school and I wasn't the person that selected the people to be in the class. So 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 a student and I shouldn't have been."
  • On Seth Rogen's comments about not working with him. (See them here.) "Of course, it was hurtful in context, but I get it, you know, he had to answer for me cause I was silent."
(More James Franco stories.)

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