Earlier this year in January James Franco was accused of sexual misconduct by multiple women, and since addressing the allegations on late night talk shows and attending the SAG Awards, he has kept a low profile. But now his Disaster Artist co-star Sharon Stone is speaking out—in his favor.
While recently speaking on the podcast WTF with Marc Maron, Stone outlined her views about Franco.“I’m appalled by this thing about him that's happening, where the girlfriend—I don't know how the girlfriend can say that she’s offended that he asked for a blowjob while they were dating, and now all of a sudden, he’s a bad guy," she says during her appearance (starting at around 1:06:25, below).
"I worked with him, I know him. He's the loveliest, kindest, sweetest, elegant, nicest man. [He’s a] kind friend, lovely professional. I’m absolutely appalled by this,” she adds.
In January, the Los Angeles Times published allegations of "inappropriate or sexually exploitative behavior" made by five women. One, Violet Paley, accused him of pressuring her to perform oral sex on him in a car in 2016, while they were in a romantic relationship. Franco’s attorney denied Paley’s allegations and called them “not accurate,” according to the Times. The four other accusers were students under Franco at a film school he founded. Franco and his reps have repeatedly denied the accusations, but in light of them, Franco did not make an appearance at the Oscars this year.
Stone clarifies that her support of Franco does not mean she doesn't support the #MeToo or Time's Up movements. However, “I don’t feel like these trials without due process are entirely appropriate,” she says. “I feel that it’s appropriate that people have to take responsibility for the actions, but I do feel that some due process is in order.”
Considering that a man forcing someone to touch him sexually sans consent is sexual assault, Stone's definition of what constitutes sexual harassment is lenient at best: “Some men are just incredibly stupid,” she says. “You go out with them, they bring you home for a good-night kiss and they grab your hand and put it on their penis. A 50-year-old man. I don’t think they’re trying to sexually harass me, I think they’re just incredibly stupid and awkward. Like, really? That’s your move? Please don’t ever call me again, because you’re too stupid to date. I don’t think I should ruin your whole life over that but I just think you’re incredibly stupid.”
This is not the first time the actress has spoken about sexual harassment and assault publicly.
"I've been in this business for 40 years, Lee. Can you imagine the business I stepped into 40 years ago? Looking like I look, from Nowhere, Pennsylvania? I didn't come here with any protection," she said in January when asked if she's faced harassment or inappropriate behavior during her career. "I've seen it all."
"We were raised to accommodate men, particularly in my generation, and women so often lose their own identity to the identity of the man that they're with. They even change the way they dress and what they do to fit the men that they're with," she said. "We're starting to acknowledge our own gifts as women and not think that we have to behave as men in order to be empowered, or powerful, or valuable."