The James Franco/Seth Rogen Drama
In an in-depth interview on SiriusXM’s The Jess Cagle Podcast that debuts in full on Thursday, Franco, 43, addressed the sexual misconduct allegations made against him in 2018, while also revealing his struggles with sex addiction and how he has worked to improve himself in the past four years.
Franco spoke about Rogen, 39, distancing himself professionally from Franco because of allegations that Franco was sexually inappropriate with multiple women, including students at his former acting school.
“He was asked about me, and I just wanna say I absolutely love Seth Rogen. … I love Seth Rogen,” Franco told Cagle. “I worked with him for 20 years. We didn’t have one fight for 20 years. Not one fight. He was my absolute closest work friend, collaborator. We just gelled.”
“What he said is true, you know, we aren’t working together right now and we don’t have any plans to work together,” he continued. “Of course, it was hurtful, in context, but I get it. He had to answer for me ’cause I was silent. He had to answer for me, and I don’t want that. So that’s why, that’s one of the main reasons I wanted to talk to you today: I don’t want Seth or my brother or anyone to have to answer for me anymore.”
In May, Rogen told The Sunday Times he has no future plans to work with Franco: “What I can say is that I despise abuse and harassment and I would never cover or conceal the actions of someone doing it, or knowingly put someone in a situation where they were around someone like that. … The truth is that I have not and I do not plan to [work with Franco] right now.”
Rogen added that the controversy “changed many things in our relationship and our dynamic.”
Rogen and Franco have known each other since they were teenagers and collaborated together on movies like Pineapple Express (2008), This Is The End (2013), The Interview (2014), and The Disaster Artist (2017).
Franco was accused of sexually inappropriate behavior by five women, four of whom were his acting students, in an article published by The Los Angeles Times in January 2018. That same month, one of the alleged victims, Sarah 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.”
Over the summer, Franco reached a deal with Tither-Kaplan and Toni Gaal — two of his former acting students who filed a sexual misconduct lawsuit against him in 2019. Records obtained by PEOPLE from the Los Angeles Superior Court at the time stated that he agreed to pay $2,235,000 in the settlement.
In their 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. Franco denied the allegations against him in 2018.
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.” As part of the deal reached this year, Tither-Kaplan and Gaal agreed to drop their individual claims.
Jess Cagle’s full interview with James Franco, as part of the latest episode of SiriusXM’s The Jess Cagle Podcast, will be available on Thursday, Dec. 23. The interview will also air on SiriusXM’s The Jess Cagle Show on SiriusXM Stars (ch. 109) on Thursday, Dec. 23 at 2:00 p.m. ET.