If you were watching the Golden Globes on January 7th, you saw many celebrities - Michelle Williams, Laura Dern, and Oprah Winfrey, just to name a few - speaking up about sexual harassment and calling for a “new horizon.” Among the many celebrities that showed support in combating sexual assault was James Franco, who proudly wore a #TimesUp pin on his lapel.
James Franco’s choice to wear this pin angered many, and triggered a domino effect of five sexual assault allegations on Twitter. The first comment was from actress Ally Sheedy, who has now deleted her tweets against Franco. Shortly after, former acting student Sarah Tither-Kaplan tweeted:
According to Tither-Kaplan, Franco removed plastic guards used to cover actresses’ vaginas when filming a nude orgy scene.
23-year-old actress Violet Paley also tweeted in response to Franco’s pin:
She told the LA Times that Franco took his penis out and nudged her head down when they were in a car. She said, “Can we do this later?” and he proceeded to nudge her head down. “I didn’t want him to hate me, so I did it.” She told Franco someone was coming towards the car in order to escape the situation.
Franco since then apologized for his sexual behavior with Paley, but Paley claims his apology was “overdue, annoyed, [and] convenient.”
Katie Ryan, former acting student of Franco, also came out with allegations shortly after his appearance on the Golden Globes. She explained that Franco often emailed her, offering her parts that were strictly roles of prostitutes and hookers. She also claimed that he told many students that they could play roles “if we were to perform sexual acts or take off our shirts.”
Lastly, former acting students Natalie Chmie and Hilary Dusome also came out with allegations. Both women claimed that they were involved in a strip club scene. When the women on set refused to take their shirts off, Franco grew angry. Both women described Franco’s reaction as a “hostile interaction.”
Due to the series of allegations, The New York Times cancelled an event about James Franco’s upcoming movie “The Disaster Artist,” where Franco was scheduled to appear. However, Franco appeared on Late Night with Seth Meyers, and when asked to address the recent allegations, he replied, “The [Tweets] I read were not accurate.” However, previous proof has been released of Franco’s sexual misconduct with underage girls, as stated in Paley’s tweet. In 2014, Franco posted on Instagram, “I HOPE PARENTS KEEP THEIR TEENS AWAY FROM ME” shortly after he admitted trying to meet up at a hotel with a 17-year-old.
2018 started off with a bang as many actors and actresses showed their support for sexual assault victims and the #TimesUp movement at the Golden Globes. However, sexual allegations are still exploding across Twitter, including allegations against a supposed #TimesUp supporter himself. At the Golden Globes, Oprah raised her voice against the problem of sexual assault as a worldwide problem.
“[Sexual assault] transcends any culture, geography, race, religion, politics, or workplace...for too long, women have not been heard or believed if they dare speak the truth to the power of those men. But their time is up...So I want all the girls watching here, now, to know that a new day is on the horizon! And when that new day finally dawns, it will be because of a lot of magnificent women, many of whom are right here in this room tonight, and some pretty phenomenal men, fighting hard to make sure that they become the leaders who take us to the time when nobody has to say ‘Me too’ again.”
Let this be a reminder to all of us that while we are making some huge steps in the right direction, the fight can’t stop here. Simply wearing a pin is not enough. We must keep fighting until, in the words of Oprah, “nobody has to say ‘Me too’ again.”