(NEW YORK) — Attorneys for actor James Franco have asked a Los Angeles court to toss out a class-action lawsuit leveled at him by his former students, claiming Franco’s accusers falsely accused him of sexual exploitation.
Back in October, a suit was filed in which two former students, Sarah Tither-Kaplan and Toni Gaal accused the actor and teacher of staging a class that, to quote Variety, “was little more than an opportunity for him and his friends to exploit young women.”
The women in the class, the class action suit alleged, were encouraged to disrobe as part of intimate scenes that were being rehearsed, and those who obliged were given preferential treatment.
Variety reports that Franco’s attorneys accused the former students of trying, “to jump on the bandwagon and insert [themselves] into the media’s insatiable appetite to ruin the next celebrity.”
Calling the claims “salacious and false,” Franco’s team said the suit had the “obvious goal of grabbing as much publicity as possible for attention-hungry plaintiffs.”
The attorneys describe Franco as, “an ardent believer in the righteousness of the #MeToo and Times Up movements,” and note that while the movement led to the punishment of “reprehensible individuals,” these accusations of sexual misconduct “have also ensnared an innocent man.”
The lawyers’ motion, filed Friday, also said, “Franco is doing what is best for him: forcefully denying the scurrilous and false accusations but supporting his accusers’ right to their day in court.”
The attorneys pointed to Tweets written by Tither-Kaplan in which she called Franco’s master class, Studio 4, “an amazing experience.”
“In the end, Franco is confident that he will be vindicated,” his attorneys claimed.
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