Recently, a set of lawsuits have been settled between James Franco and former students at his school, Studio 4. The lawsuits allege that Franco abused his position of power by coercing sexual activities under the guise of teaching and supporting students acting careers.
Sexual Exploitation at Studio 4
The students’ claims that nudity and sexual activities were expected and encouraged to receive roles within Franco’s production company. Roles were granted based on participation in explicit scenes, lewd content, and wanton nudity within Studio 4 teaching school.
The official lawsuit states “… the reality was that he was looking to create a pipeline of young women who were subjected to his personal and professional sexual exploitation in the name of education.” Young, attractive female actresses, and even non-students often preferentially selected for Franco’s roles, despite claims that Studio 4 students were being given an equal chance of being cast. Franco exploited his position as a teacher and mentor to the acting students.
The direct link between sexual participation and career success of the young women of Franco’s school stipulate institutional flaws in Hollywood. Grooming is the act of establishing an emotional connection with a vulnerable individual to later carry out abusive acts. The students (women) of Studio 4 were consistently exposed to sexual misconduct at the threat of their future and career. Studio 4’s culture promoted nudity and sexual activity at the behest of Franco and other teachers.
Sexual Abuse and Harassment in the Broader Entertainment Industry
Data from the Hollywood Commission Survey reveals a deeper culture of exploitation within the entertainment industry. The 2019 Survey addresses sexual abuse statistics and came to a few conclusions about the entertainment industry after surveying just under 10,000 entertainment workers:
- 65% of respondents believed Powerful Harassers would not be held accountable.
- Entertainment workers fear denial of their claims or retaliation.
- Most (72%) would not report abuse to their workplace.
Reach Out to a Compassionate Attorney Today
If you have been a victim of sexual violence, coercion, or harassment, call Boyk Law today. Our skilled and experienced attorneys can help you evaluate your situation and provide options for your next steps. Give us a call to connect with an attorney today.