James Franco files objection to lawsuit

James Franco has filed an objection to a "salacious" lawsuit from two women who claim they were sexually exploited by his now-defunct acting school.

The 'Deuce' actor and his partners at Playhouse West Studio 4 - which opened in 2014 but closed three years later - were sued in October by Sarah Tither-Kaplan and Toni Gaal, who claimed the defendants "engaged in widespread inappropriate and sexually charged behaviour towards female students by sexualising their power as a teacher and an employer by dangling the opportunity for roles in their projects", and he's now submitted a demurrer, claiming the pair were "attention-hungry" and made "false and inflammatory" accusations for publicity.

According to court documents obtained by People magazine, the demurrer - a written objection - stated: "While the salacious allegations in the complaint have made great tabloid fodder, they are also false and inflammatory, legally baseless and brought improperly in the form of a class action largely to gain as much publicity as possible.

"This lawsuit is a travesty of justice and the culmination of a meritless campaign that has unfairly tarnished a decent man's hard-earned reputation."

In January 2018, Sarah claimed in an article for the Los Angeles Times that she had been exploited by James and said he'd removed safety guards while filming an oral sex scene for 2015 movie 'The Long Home' and accused him of an "abuse of power".

In response, the demurrer stated: "Ms. Tither-Kaplan had always expressed gratitude for having been given the opportunity to work in Emmy-nominated productions with Franco, one of her teachers...

"Tither-Kaplan was so effusive in her praise of Franco that she had posted unsolicited tweets and texts extolling Franco's virtues, how much she admired him and how much she got out of her time at Studio 4."

It later stated the aspiring actress had "knowingly engaged" in nude scenes with the 'Spring Breakers' star.

The documents added: "The casting director and others involved with those films have confirmed that all actresses, including Tither-Kaplan, were aware of the nudity scenes ahead of time, that they were constantly checking to make sure the actresses felt comfortable, that they signed nudity waivers, and that no one -- including Tither-Kaplan -- ever complained."