Even in the wake of the sexual misconduct allegations against him, James Franco will return for The Deuce Season 2, confirmed by writer Megan Abbott in an interview with Entertainment Tonight. In addition to starring on the show as Vincent and Frankie Martino, two Brooklyn-born twins who begin working for the mob, Franco is also an executive producer and directed two of the episodes of the first season of the HBO show. Despite the heightened focus on holding those in Hollywood accused of sexual abuse, assault, and misconduct accountable for their actions, the fact that Franco will still be involved with the HBO show following accusations of "abuse of power and inappropriate behavior" by five women is not as surprising as it should be.
"The things that I heard that were on Twitter are not accurate," Franco said in the wake of tweets by two actors named Violet Paley and Sarah Tither-Kaplan, who had worked with him in the past. Tither-Kaplan accused Franco of sexually exploiting her by increasing the amount of nudity she was contractually obligated to provide for one of his films, while Paley accused him of attempting to force her into oral sex and exhibiting predatory behavior toward two 17-year-olds. "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."
In the January 2018 Los Angeles Times report, three more women accused Franco of sexual misconduct, allegations which were denied as "not accurate" by his lawyer Michael Plonsker. Hilary Dusome and Natalie Chmiel claimed that the actor became furious while filming a strip club scene because the women involved in the scene didn't want to go topless. And Katie Ryan claimed that Franco "would always make everybody think there were possible roles on the table if we were to perform sexual acts or take off our shirts." The former two accusers were taught by Franco at Playhouse West in 2012, while Ryan was taught by him at Studio 4.
However, in the wake of these allegations, The Deuce co-creator David Simon gave Variety a statement in January 2018 in which he claimed that there had been no complaints about the actor's conduct on the HBO show:
"Personally I can only speak knowledgeably to 'The Deuce.' I’ve checked with all my fellow producers and other personnel. We have no complainant or complaint or any awareness of any incident of concern involving Mr. Franco. Nor has HBO been approached with any complaint. In our experience, he was entirely professional as an actor, director, and producer."
In light of that, it is, perhaps, unsurprising that Franco's stint on the show wouldn't have been affected by the allegations. However, if they had chosen to replace him, there certainly would have been a precedent for that.
After Anthony Rapp accused Kevin Spacey of having attempted to have sex with him when he was a minor (Spacey replied on Twitter by saying that, "I honestly do not remember the encounter, it would have been over 30 years ago. But if I did behave then as I describes, I owe him the sincerest apology."), more men came forward with allegations against the actor. Spacey was subsequently replaced in All The Money In The World by Christopher Plummer mere weeks before the film was slated to premiere. Plummer went on to receive an Oscar nomination for the recast role. Spacey was also terminated from House of Cards, with the next and final season of the Netflix show to focus on co-lead Robin Wright.
Such actions were not taken against Franco with regards to The Deuce, but it remains to be seen how the allegations will affect the actor's career as awards season continues.
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.