Stephen Colbert Presses James Franco on Sexual Harassment Claims
"The things I heard are not accurate, but I completely support people coming out because they didn’t have a voice for so long," the actor and director said on the 'Late Show' Tuesday night.
Just hours after The New York Times canceled a scheduled TimesTalk with James Franco, Late Show host Stephen Colbert pressed the Disaster Artist star and director on sexual harassment allegations that emerged on Twitter Sunday following his Golden Globe win.
Franco, among other stars at the Globes, wore a Time's Up pin in support of sexual harassment and assault awareness, which sparked criticism online and a number of claims by women on Twitter that Franco had sexually harassed them. Colbert, who shot his show earlier that day before Franco's TimesTalk was officially canceled, pressed the actor on the issue and what he thought of the current #MeToo and Time's Up movements.
“First, I want to say that I do support it. Look, I was so excited to win but being in that room that night was incredible. It was powerful. I support change,” Franco said.
During the Golden Globes telecast, several women accused Franco of sexual misconduct on Twitter. In one tweet, actress Violet Paley claimed that the actor once forced her to perform oral sex on him, and that he had asked one of her friends to "come to your hotel" when she was 17. Paley later tweeted that Franco had, several weeks previously, apologized over the phone for past conduct to herself and "a few other girls."
When asked about the allegations against him, Franco told Colbert, "There were some things on Twitter, I haven’t read them. I’ve heard about them." He then addressed claims, since deleted, made by Ally Sheedy, who Franco directed in a Broadway play in 2014. "I have no idea what I did to Ally Sheedy," Franco said. "I have total respect for her. She took the tweet down, I can’t speak for her."
"The others, in my life I pride myself on taking responsibility for what I’ve done," Franco continued. "The things I heard are not accurate, but I completely support people coming out because they didn’t have a voice for so long. I don’t want to shut them down in any way. I think its a good thing and I support it."
Franco reiterated his intentions to make things right. “I can’t live if there’s restitution to be made," he said. "If I’ve done something wrong, I will fix it. I have to. I don’t know what else to do. As far as the bigger issue of how we do it, I really don’t have the answers. I think the point of this whole thing is that we listen. I’m here to listen and learn and change my perspective where it’s off. I’m completely willing and want to.”
Later on Tuesday, Franco attended the National Board of Review Awards, but did not speak to press on the red carpet. He was in attendance to present the Disaster Artist writers with the adapted screenplay award.
Read Franco's full comments below.
Franco: Well, first, I want to say I wore it because I do support it. I was, you know — look, I was excited to win, but being in that room that night was incredible. I mean, it was powerful and there were incredible voices, and I support it. I support change. I support 50/50 in 2020, which just means people that are underrepresented — women, people of color, people in the LGBT community — get leadership positions, that they fill all positions that they have been deprived of. I completely believe in that. That’s why I wore it.
Franco: There were some things on Twitter — I didn’t read them. I’ve heard about them. Okay, first of all, I have no idea what I did to Ally Sheedy. I directed her in a play Off Broadway. I had nothing but a great time with her, total respect for her. I have no idea why she was so upset. She took the tweet down. I don’t know. I can’t speak for her, I don’t know. The others, look, in my life I pride myself on taking responsibility for things that I’ve done. I have to do that to maintain my well-being. I do it whenever I know that there is something wrong or needs to be changed, I make it a point to do it. The things that I heard that were on Twitter are not accurate, but I completely support people coming out and being able to have a voice because they didn’t have a voice for so long. So, I don’t want to shut them down in any way. It’s a good thing and I support it.
Colbert: Well, is there something else that you think - some way to have this discussion that isn’t in social media? Is there some way to have this conversation that piggy backs on what’s happening in social media? Because when accusations happen - because for so long accusations were not believed. When accusations happened, that in your case, you say that this is not an accurate thing for me. Do you have any idea what the answer might be to come to some sense of what the truth is so there can be some sort of reconciliation between people who clearly have different views of things? I mean, its a big question but I don’t know how to leave or to further this discussion.
Franco: I mean, like I said, if I, you know, know, I - I can’t - the way I live my life, I can’t live if there’s restitution to be made . I will make it. So if I’ve done something wrong, I will fix it. I have to. I mean, I think that’s how that works. I don’t know what else - I don’t know what else to do. I mean, as far as the bigger issues, you know, how we do it. I - look, I really don’t have the answers and I think the point of this whole thing is that we listen. You know, there were incredible people talking that night. They had a lot to say, and I’m here to listen and learn and change my perspective where it’s off, and I’m completely willing and want to.