Although The New York Times canceled an upcoming event with James Franco after sexual misconduct allegations were made about the actor, Stephen Colbert didn't do the same. The host had the Golden Globe winner on The Late Show (series film editing: Rachel Whitaker, 6 episodes), where Franco denied the allegations made against him. After the actor wore a Time's Up pin to the 2018 Golden Globes, where he won for Best Actor in a Comedy or Musical for The Disaster Artist (associate producer: Ashleigh Erwin), two women named Violet Paley and Sarah Tither-Kaplan accused Franco of sexual misconduct on Twitter. And, at the end of Franco's appearance on The Late Show on Jan. 9, which was mostly lighthearted and included an appearance by James' brother Dave, Colbert addressed these accusations. (Bustle has reached out to Franco for additional comment, but did not receive an immediate response.)
Along with statements about Franco made by The Breakfast Club (co-producer: Michelle Manning) actor Ally Sheedy, the two women tweeted about alleged sexual misconduct by The Disaster Artist star and director. The women appeared to be prompted because Franco wore a Time's Up pin at the Globes. "First, I wanna say I wore [the pin] cause I do support it," Franco said to Colbert about the Time's Up initiative, which was started by women in the entertainment industry to stop sexual assault, harassment, and inequality in the workplace. "Look, I was so excited to win, but being in that room that night was incredible. It was powerful."
He then spoke directly about the allegations made against him. "There were some things on Twitter," Franco said. "I haven't read them. I've heard about them." He went on to deny these accusations:
"In my life, I pride myself on taking responsibility for things that I've done. I have to do that to maintain my well-being. I do it whenever I know that there's something wrong or needs to be changed, I make it a point to do it. The things that I heard that were on Twitter are not accurate, but I completely support people coming out and being able to have a voice because they didn't have a voice for so long. So I don't want to shut them down in any way. I think it's a good thing and I support it."
He also addressed the fact that Sheedy had called him out the night of the Globes. Although she has since deleted the tweets about Franco, Sheedy wrote, "James Franco just won. Please never ever ask me why I left the film/tv business." She didn't specify any further.
Franco had directed Sheedy in 2014 in the Off-Broadway play The Long Shrift, which is about a man returning home after he was sentenced to jail as a teenager for raping his high school sweetheart. Franco's response to Colbert was, "I have no idea what I did to Ally Sheedy… I had nothing but a great time with her. [I have] total respect for her. I have no idea why she was upset. She took the tweet down. I don't know, I can't speak for her."
Yet the two other women have been more specific in their accusations. Tither-Kaplan, who is listed as a filmmaker and actor on her Twitter bio, wrote, "Hey James Franco, nice #timesup pin at the #GoldenGlobes , remember a few weeks ago when you told me the full nudity you had me do in two of your movies for $100/day wasn't exploitative because I signed a contract to do it? Times up on that!" Her IMDb page shows she has worked with Franco on The Long Home, Actor's Anonymous, Blood Theatre, and Making a Scene with James Franco.
Paley wrote, "Cute #TIMESUP pin James Franco. Remember the time you pushed my head down in a car towards your exposed penis & that other time you told my friend to come to your hotel when she was 17? After you had already been caught doing that to a different 17 year old?"
In 2014, Franco admitted to pursuing a 17-year-old girl on Live! With Kelly and Michael after images of their conversation were made public. Yet the actor did not admit to what Tither-Kaplan and Paley accused him of. “If there's restitution to be made, I will make it," he told Colbert. "If I've done something wrong, I will fix it. I have to."
When Colbert asked Franco's opinion on how "to come to some sense of what the truth is so there can be some sort of reconciliation between people who clearly have different views of things," the actor struggled. "As far as the bigger issues — how we do it — I really don't have the answers," Franco said. "I think the point of this whole thing is that we listen. There were incredible people talking [at the Globes], they had a lot to say and I'm here to listen and learn and change my perspective where it's off. I'm completely willing and want to."
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, call the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 800-656-HOPE (4673) or visit online.rainn.org.
Editor's Note: This article has been updated from its original version.