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James Franco is one step closer to ending his sexual misconduct lawsuit.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the 43-year-old actor and associated parties have agreed to pay $2,235,000 to settle the class-action lawsuit filed by two former students at his acting school. The plaintiffs, actresses Sarah Tither-Kaplan and Toni Gaal, claim Franco coerced them into performing gratuitous sexual acts on camera as part of a class at Studio 4 Film School in New York and Los Angeles. The suit alleged the Pineapple Express star “sought to create a pipeline of young women who were subjected to his personal and professional sexual exploitation in the name of education.”
Tither-Kaplan will reportedly $670,500 minus $223,500 in legal fees; Gaal will get $223,500 minus $74,500 in legal fees; and the other alleged victims are expected to get about two-thirds of the remaining $1.3 million, approximately $827,000 of which will go to attorneys. Former students of the school can opt out of the agreement within two months, allowing them to pursue their legal claims against Franco and his business partners, Vince Jolivette and Jay Davis. Any remaining money from the payout will go toward the National Women’s Law Center.
Tither-Kaplan and Gaal filed their first lawsuit against Franco in 2019, as the #MeToo movement was shaking Hollywood. The women claimed the coercion began in a master class at the now-defunct Studio 4 Film School, which operated between 2014 to 2017. Franco denied the allegations of sexual exploitation and addressed the accusations during an appearance on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert several years ago.