Credit: Juan Naharro Gimenez/WireImage

In January 2018, five women, former students of James Franco’s former acting school Studio 4 were the subject of an article in the Los Angeles Times after they came forward with sexual allegations against the actor and producer. Despite Franco having denied the claims, two former students have filed a lawsuit alleging that the classes were merely a ploy for Franco and his associates to take advantage of young women.

Sarah Tither-Kaplan and Toni Gaal filed the class action complaint in Los Angeles County Superior Court on Thursday, with the belief that Franco and his partners “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.”

“As Plaintiffs experienced and observed, Studio 4 served no other legitimate purposes other than to dupe unsuspecting and often very young ‘students’ out of their money and talent to serve Defendants’ financial and exploitative desires,” the suit states.

Responding to the allegations, Fanco’s attorney Michael Plonsker, said that Franco will seek damages against the plaintiffs and their attorneys for bringing a “scurrilous” lawsuit.

“This is not the first time that these claims have been made and they have already been debunked,” Plonsker said. “We have not had an opportunity to review the ill-informed Complaint in depth since it was leaked to the press before it was filed and our client has yet to even be served. James will not only fully defend himself, but will also seek damages from the plaintiffs and their attorneys for filing this scurrilous publicity seeking lawsuit.”

Franco and Vince Jolivette founded the school in 2014 with branches in Los Angeles and New York, which has since closed. The suit also states that students paid $300 a month for tuition.

This is an ongoing case so stay tuned.