James Franco speaks out 4 years after sexual misconduct allegations: 'I didn't want to hurt people'

James Franco
(Image credit: VALERIE MACON/AFP via Getty Images)

James Franco is speaking out almost four years after his sexual misconduct scandal.

The actor's comments came after being accused of inappropriate behavior by five women in a Los Angeles Times exposé in 2018, per People. In 2019, he was sued by two women who alleged he "engaged in widespread inappropriate and sexually charged behavior towards female students" at his acting school. In an interview on The Jess Cagle Podcast, Franco said he wanted to "pause" and "be quiet" after the allegations emerged but that he's since been "doing a lot of work" toward "changing who I was."

The 2019 lawsuit against Franco accused him and his partners at the Studio 4 acting school, which has since closed, of "sexualizing their power as a teacher and an employer by dangling the opportunity for roles in their projects." Franco admitted in the interview that "over the course of my teaching, I did sleep with students, and that was wrong," but he denied that this is "why I started the school." Franco settled the lawsuit this year for $2.2 million.

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"There were certain instances where I was in a consensual thing with a student, and I shouldn't have been," Franco said.

The actor also said he battled sex addiction and admitted he "cheated on everyone" before he started dating his girlfriend Isabel Pakzad, acknowledging he was "completely blind to power dynamics" and "completely blind to people's feelings." He added that he "didn't want to hurt people" but that his "behavior spun out to a point where it was like I was hurting everybody."

Earlier this year, Franco's longtime collaborator Seth Rogen said he had no plans to work with him again after the allegations. Franco called Rogen his "absolute closest work friend," and he said the comments were "hurtful" but that "I get it."

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