James Franco Reaches Settlement in Sexual Misconduct Lawsuit: Report

Maria Pasquini
·2-min read

Kevin Winter/Getty James Franco

James Franco has reached a settlement with two women who filed a sexual misconduct lawsuit against the actor in 2019.

According to the Associated Press, a deal was reached between Franco, Sarah Tither-Kaplan and Toni Gaal, who sued the 42-year-old actor and claimed they were sexually exploited by his now-defunct acting school.

Court records show that a joint status report was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on Feb. 11.

In the status report, the two sides told a judge that a settlement had been reached, according to the AP. As part of the deal, Tither-Kaplan and Gaal had agreed to drop their individual claims.

"The Plaintiffs can confirm that the Parties filed a Joint Status Report notifying the Court of a tentative settlement. The settlement will be further memorialized in a Joint Stipulation of Settlement to be filed with the Court at a later date," a statement released to Entertainment Weekly on behalf of Valli Kane & Vagnini, LLP reads.

Attorneys for Franco did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.

RELATED: James Franco Sued by 2 Women Who Claim He Sexually Exploited Them Through His Acting School

In the 2019 lawsuit, Tither-Kaplan and Gaal claimed Franco and his business partners "engaged in widespread inappropriate and sexually charged behavior towards female students by sexualizing their power as a teacher and an employer by dangling the opportunity for roles in their projects," according to court documents previously obtained by PEOPLE.

Tither-Kaplan and Gaal also alleged that the circumstances "led to an environment of harassment and sexual exploitation both in and out of the class."

At the time of the filing, an attorney for Franco released a statement obtained by PEOPLE, denying the allegations on behalf of the actor.

The Oscar nominee opened his acting school, Playhouse West Studio 4, in 2014 before it closed in 2017.

RELATED: James Franco Accused of Sexually Inappropriate Behavior By Five Women — Including Four Former Students

Tither-Kaplan initially accused Franco of sexually exploiting her in January 2018 alongside four other women in an article published by The Los Angeles Times. She claimed to the newspaper that Franco removed safety guards while filming an oral sex scene on the set of the 2015 film The Long Home. (Those allegations also found their way into the 2019 lawsuit.)

That same month, Tither-Kaplan told Good Morning America that Franco "abused his power by exploiting the non-celebrity women that he worked with under the guise of giving them opportunities."

At the time, an attorney for Franco denied each of the allegations and cited the actor's 2018 comments on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert as his formal denial.

"The things that I heard that were on Twitter are not accurate, but I completely support people coming out and being able to have a voice because they didn't have a voice for so long," Franco told host Stephen Colbert. "So I don't want to, you know, shut them down in any way."