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James Franco Accused by Five Women of Sexually Inappropriate Behavior

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James Franco Accused by Five Women of Sexually Inappropriate Behavior

Five women have accused James Franco of inappropriate or sexually exploitative behavior, including two women who lambasted the actor on Twitter after he won a Golden Globe, according to a report published Thursday.

Franco, 39, has been dogged by allegations, rumors and innuendo in the wake of Sunday's ceremony, during which a wore a lapel pin honoring the fight against sexual misconduct. He has denied sexual impropriety, telling Stephen Colbert on Tuesday that claims on Twitter were "not accurate."

Four women who spoke to The Los Angeles Times were students at Studio 4, a film school Franco founded in 2014. The fifth said he was her mentor. In some cases, the newspaper reported, the women believed the prolific star, well-known in Hollywood for his intense work ethic and eclectic side-projects, could advance their careers.

"I feel there was an abuse of power, and there was a culture of exploiting non-celebrity women, and a culture of women being replaceable," Sarah Tither-Kaplan, a 26-year-old actress and filmmaker who has appeared in movies directed by Franco, told The Times.

Tither-Kaplan, expanding on a tweet she sent after Franco won a Globe for his turn in "The Disaster Artist," told the newspaper that in a nude orgy scene she filmed with him and several women three years ago, he removed protective plastic guards covering the genitalia of other actresses while simulating oral sex on them.

Two other students at Studio 4 — Hilary Dusome, 33, and Natalie Chmiel, 33 — told The Times about unpleasant experiences on set with Franco, with both saying he became visibly furious when actresses did not agree to take their shirts off.

"I felt like I was selected for something based on my hard work and my merit, and when I realized it was because I have nice [breasts], it was pretty clear that was not the case," Dusome told the newspaper. "I don't think he started teaching with bad intentions, but he went down a bad path and damaged a lot of people in the process."

Katie Ryan, who took classes at Studio 4, said Franco "would always make everybody think there were possible roles on the table if we were to perform sexual acts or take off our shirts." Franco's lawyer said the actor is “not aware that any of the actions alleged by Ms. Ryan ever occurred."

Violet Paley, 23, another actress who blasted Franco on Twitter after the Globes, told The Times that they had entered into a romantic relationship when he pressured her into performing oral sex on him in her car.

"I was talking to him, all of a sudden his penis was out," Paley told the newspaper. "I got really nervous, and I said, 'Can we do this later?' He was kind of nudging my head down, and I just didn't want him to hate me, so I did it."

Franco's attorney, Michael Plonsker, disputed the allegations from each of the women, according to The Times. Plonsker's law firm did not immediately return an email from NBC News on Thursday morning.

The renewed scrutiny on Franco comes four years after he apparently sent a series of text messages, posted on the image-sharing website Imgur, in which he seemed to try to seduce a 17-year-old Scottish girl he had met outside a Broadway theater in New York.

In response to questions about the Los Angeles Times story, a representative for Franco pointed out statements from his appearance Tuesday on CBS' "The Late Show" in which the actor said: "In my life, I pride myself in taking responsibility for things I’ve done."

During the interview, Franco also said: “I completely support people coming out and being able to have a voice because they haven’t had a voice for so long. I don’t want to shut them down in any way. It’s a good thing I support."

Source: NBC News