LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) - Actor James Franco and two other men have reached a $2.2 million settlement of a class-action lawsuit alleging that female students at Studio 4 Film School were sexually exploited by the three men, according to court papers obtained Wednesday.
The suit was filed in 2019 by two former students, Sarah Tither-Kaplan and Toni Gaal, in Los Angeles Superior Court. The allegations included fraud, sexual harassment and discrimination, as well as civil rights violations.
In their suit, Tither-Kaplan and Gaal stated that they attended the now closed Studio 4 school, and that they had hoped to get work through the defendants' production companies.
"While James Franco touted that one difference between Studio 4 and other acting schools was its ability to funnel promising talent into his projects, the reality was that he was looking to create a pipeline of young women who were subjected to his personal and professional sexual exploitations in the of education," the suit states.
Franco and the two co-defendants, Vince Jolivette and Jay Davis, denied the allegations and continue to deny any wrongdoing, according to court papers filed last week, but said they agreed to the settlement after deciding that continued litigation "would be protracted and expensive for all parties."
The overall settlement still needs court approval, but comes to $2.235 million, with $894,000 going to Tither-Kaplan and Gaal's sexual exploitation claims and $1.341 million going to a fund for all the other class members, which includes those who paid tuition for courses at the Studio 4 Film School in New York or Los Angeles.
(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)
for more features.