As the story of James Franco’s past sexual misconduct continues to come to light and subsequently affect his life in various ways, notably with some believing the timing of his recent 2018 Oscars snub could be linked back to his alleged behavior, we now get to hear even more from two of his victims.
On Tuesday, two of the first women to come forward with allegations about Franco, Violet Paley and Sarah Tither-Kaplan, gave an interview on Good Morning America in which they revisited their allegations in an interview with Amy Robach. Among the many things they made known was what they want Franco to do: apologize.
Their message to Franco is simple, no bells and whistles, and succinct: “Just apologize.” It’s a simple request from two women who have been victimized by Franco, but it’s still something that to the public’s knowledge the actor has yet to do.
Tither-Kaplan goes on to explain to Robach why Franco’s actions cut so deeply and why an apology is likely so necessary at this point. “James abused his power by exploiting the noncelebrity women that he worked with under the guise of giving them opportunities,” she stated. Being an actor and a filmmaker and working in the industry has been my dream since I was maybe 5 or 6, and I knew that by coming forward I was risking my career.”
It’s that kind of risk that is, hopefully to any person reading this, surely worthy of at least person-to-person acknowledgment and a subsequent apology. While Franco has publicly stated that he is sorry and that he doesn’t want to prevent the women who allege they’ve been targeted by him from coming forward, Paley and Tither-Kaplan’s request implies Franco has failed to directly address him.
But it seems like both Tither-Kaplan and Paley are open to receiving an apology from Franco as well as forgiving him. To them, Franco is still far and away a better man than Harvey Weinstein, to whom they make the comparison. “James is absolutely not a Harvey Weinstein,” Tither-Kaplan told Robach at one point. “He is not an unfeeling monster who has no sense of reality. He created exploitative environments for noncelebrity women on his sets. I also think James is a talented and valuable person.”
She goes on to explain how she believes this culture where people may be able to take advantage of one another can be dismantled. “It’s a pyramid, and at the top is rape and sexual violence, and at the bottom are the other abuses of power that when they continue to happen over and over build and build and build and create a culture that allows the most heinous examples of sexual violence and misogyny and discrimination to happen. So, if we allow any of them, we allow all of them.”
Perhaps there is still a chance for Franco to redeem himself after all, and for him, Paley and Tither-Kaplan to serve as examples of people who can restore balance to the system. It sounds like all he has to do is begin with the simple but highly personal act of apologizing.