He said he was "completely blind to power dynamics ... but also completely blind to people's feelings."
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Back in 2018, five women accused actor James Franco of sexual misconduct — and since then, even with support from stars like Sharon StoneVanessa Hudgens, and Ashley Judd and criticism from Scarlett Johansson and Busy Philipps (who also accused him of physically assaulting her), he's stayed silent. He finally addressed the accusations during an interview with SiriusXM's Jess Cagle, marking the first time in four years that he's talked about it.

Franco explained that he wanted to take time to listen, not add to the discourse and maybe upset anyone further.

"In 2018 there were some complaints about me and an article about me and at that moment I just thought, 'I'm gonna be quiet. I'm gonna be, I'm gonna pause.' Did not seem like the right time to say anything,' he said. "There were people that were upset with me and I needed to listen."

He went on to say that he fought the urge to apologize and just erase the story from the headlines. Instead, he noted that he wanted to work on himself and shared that he has been in treatment for sex addiction and has been in recovery since 2016.

"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, and to look at what was underneath, like, whatever you did [...] there's probably an iceberg underneath that, of behavior, of patterning, of just being blind to yourself that isn't gonna just be solved overnight," he said. "So, I've just been doing a lot of work. And I guess I'm pretty confident in saying like, four years, you know? And, I was in recovery before for substance abuse. And, there were some issues that I had to deal with that were also related to addiction. And so I've really used my recovery background to kind of start examining this and, and changing who I was."

"It's such a powerful drug," he says of his feelings around sex. "And I got hooked on it for 20 more years. And the insidious part of that is that I stayed sober from alcohol all that time. So, and I went to meetings, you know, all that time. I even tried to sponsor other people. And so in my head, it was like, 'Oh, I'm sober. I'm living a spiritual life.' Where on the side, I'm acting out now in all these other ways. And I couldn't see it."

He went on to say that he was "completely blind to power dynamics [...] but also completely blind to people's feelings. I didn't wanna hurt people ... [but] the behavior spun out to a point where it was like I was hurting everybody."

In their lawsuit, Sarah Tither-Kaplan and Toni Gaal claimed that Franco and his business partners "engaged in widespread inappropriate and sexually charged behavior towards female students by sexualizing their power as a teacher and an employer by dangling the opportunity for roles in their projects." People reports that court documents from the Los Angeles Superior Court stated that he agreed to pay $2,235,000 in the settlement in summer 2019. As part of the settlement, Tither-Kaplan and Gaal dropped their claims against him.

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, please contact the SAMHSA substance abuse helpline at 1-800-662-HELP.