The fallout from sexual misconduct allegations against James Franco continues. After multiple women came out with stories about Franco's sexually exploitative behavior in early January, the actor was left out of Oscar nominations and later erased from a Vanity Fair cover—which he said was a "kick to the gut."
This week, Palo Alto High School covered up a mural that Franco previously painted at the school's campus. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Franco returned to his alma mater in 2014 to paint two large murals on the student center and hung 20 more paintings of his around the campus. One of the paintings was replaced in early 2016 during a renovation, but the others remained.
Speaking on her decision to paint over his artwork in the midst of sexual misconduct allegations, Palo Alto Unified School District Interim Superintendent Karen Hendricks said, "The school site and district appreciated his donation, acknowledging that the artwork was intended to be temporary in nature and would be respectfully returned or painted over at some point. Related to this, district staff recently considered the best interests of our students in the light of our educational mission, and decided to remove and return the remaining artwork."
Some of Franco's artwork is still being displayed at Palo Alto High School, but principal Kimberly Diorto says the priority was to remove the mural on the student center. In a statement to The Paly Voice, Diorto explained, "I made the decision we’ll take down the mural on the Student Center because I think that’s the one that’s most visible to the outside community." She added, "These are still allegations. I can’t even say it [the decision to replace the mural] is based on fact because he’s denied those allegations and hasn’t been charged with a crime."
Hendricks says they're already working on a plan to replace Franco's artwork with a new mural that will celebrate cultural diversity on campus. She noted, "Our Latinos Unidos group is working with the Paly ASB and VAPA Department around the concept for a new mural to be painted. Their idea was to celebrate the rich cultural backgrounds and diversity on our campus. We are excited that they came up with this idea, and look forward to helping them with the project."
Shortly after the allegations were made public, Franco appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and said they were "not accurate."