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LOS ANGELES (AP) — A tentative settlement has been reached in a lawsuit that alleged James Franco intimidated students at an acting and film school he founded into gratuitous and exploitative sexual situations, attorneys for the plaintiffs said Saturday.
The two sides filed a joint status report in Los Angeles Superior Court telling a judge a settlement had been reached in the class-action lawsuit brought by former students at the now-defunct school, Studio 4, though elements of the lawsuit may live on.
Actresses and ex-students Sarah Tither-Kaplan and Toni Gaal, who first filed the lawsuit in 2019, have agreed to drop their individual claims under the agreement, according to the court filing. Their lawsuit said Franco pushed his students into performing in increasingly explicit sex scenes on camera in an “orgy type setting” that went far beyond those acceptable on Hollywood film sets.
It alleged that Franco “sought to create a pipeline of young women who were subjected to his personal and professional sexual exploitation in the name of education,” and that students were led to believe roles in Franco’s films would be available to those who went along.
The lawsuit said the incidents occurred in a master class on sex scenes that Franco taught at Studio 4, which opened in 2014 and closed in 2017.
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