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James Franco has admitted he slept with students at his acting school, saying he struggles with sex addiction.
The actor, 43, told the Jess Cagle podcast that while teaching, he “did sleep with students, and that was wrong”.
In excerpts from the podcast, he denied accusations that he started the Studio 4 acting school to lure women for sexual purposes.
“I suppose at the time, my thinking was if it’s consensual, OK,” he said in the SiriusXM podcast. “At the time I was not clearheaded.”
The remarks were Franco’s first extended comments about the accusations, which were made nearly four years ago when the Los Angeles Times reported five women had accused the actor of conduct they considered inappropriate.
Later, in October 2019, two women filed a civil suit against the star, accusing him of exploiting aspiring actors at his now defunct school and duping young women into shooting explicit sex scenes.
The class action lawsuit, led by Sarah Tither-Kaplan and Toni Gaal, alleged he abused his position and dangled opportunities for roles in his films. Students claimed they were victims of fraud for paying for the acting school while being sexually objectified and intimidated.
Franco said he had developed a sex addiction after he became sober from an alcohol addiction he developed at a young age.
“It’s such a powerful drug,” he said. “I got hooked on it for 20 more years. The insidious part of that is that I stayed sober from alcohol all that time.”
Franco co-hosted the Oscars ceremony in 2011 and was a nominee at the 2012 awards for his performance in 127 Hours.
In the podcast interview, Franco also said he had been in recovery from sex addiction since 2016 and had “been doing a lot of work” after the allegations against him “and changing who I was”.
“I didn’t want to hurt people,” he said.