The actor denied the allegations to Stephen Colbert in 2018, shortly after women first came forward to accuse him, saying, “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, you know, shut them down in any way.”
Franco told Cagle that when the allegations first surfaced, he decided to just be quiet and take a pause because it “did not seem like the right time to say anything.”
He recalled: “There were people that were upset with me and I needed to listen. There’s a writer Damon Young and he talked about when something like this happens, the natural human instinct is to just make it stop. You just want to get out in front of it and whatever you have to do apologize, you know, get it done. But what that doesn’t do is allow you to do the work to, and to look at what was underneath.”
Franco told Cagle that he’s “been doing a lot of work” and was trying “to kind of start examining this and changing who I was.”
Although Franco has long been in recovery from alcohol abuse, he said he replaced that addiction with an addiction to sex that kept him from being faithful to anybody.
As a result, he said he became “completely blind to power dynamics or anything like that, but also completely blind to people’s feelings.”
“I didn’t want to hurt people,” he told Cagle. “In fact, I wasn’t really a one-night-stand guy. People that I got together with or dated, I’d see them for a long time, years. It’s just that I couldn’t be present for any of them. And the behavior spun out to a point where it was like I was hurting everybody.”
Earlier this year, Franco agreed to pay more than $2.2 million to settle a class-action lawsuit that alleged he compelled students in his now-defunct acting school to participate in exploitative sexual situations.
In discussing the accusations, Franco told Cagle, “I did sleep with students.”
He elaborated: “That was wrong. But like I said, it’s not why I started the school and I wasn’t the person that selected the people to be in the class. So it wasn’t a ‘master plan’ on my part. But yes, there were certain instances where, you know what, I was in a consensual thing with a student and I shouldn’t have been.”
The allegations affected Franco’s reputation, professional life and friendships. Earlier this year, his longtime co-star, Seth Rogen, told the Sunday Times he had no plans to work with Franco again.
Franco addressed the status of his working relationship with Rogen with Cagle.
“What [Rogen] said is true, you know, we aren’t working together right now and we don’t have any plans to work together,” Franco said, admitting that the comments did sting, but he said he understands why Rogen made them.
“Of course, it was hurtful, in context, but I get it. He had to answer for me ’cause I was silent. He had to answer for me, and I don’t want that. So that’s why, that’s one of the main reasons I wanted to talk to you today: I don’t want Seth or my brother or anyone to have to answer for me anymore.”