Months after sexual misconduct claims were made against James Franco, his working partner Seth Rogen has weighed in. And Rogen's response to the allegations against Franco in a new interview with Vulture appears to be supportive of his longtime collaborator and friend. (Franco has repeatedly denied the allegations against him.)
In the Vulture interview published on Monday, April 30, Rogen explained that he's stayed quiet on the topic because he doesn't consider his viewpoint "relevant" to the allegations. But when asked if the allegations against Franco were "in keeping with" what he knew about his friend, Rogen responded,
"The truth is that my perspective on this is the least relevant perspective... I'm friends with these people and I'm a dude. All that combined makes me the last person who should be talking about this."
Rogen raises a fair point, in that how someone treats their friends and coworkers isn't an indicator of how they act in relationships. (There was backlash, for example, when women who worked with Al Franken on Saturday Night Live wrote a letter defending him against sexual misconduct allegations.) And it's understandable that Rogen wouldn't want to share his opinion on the matter — the only people that really know what happened are Franco and the women who have accused him.
When asked if he would work with Franco again in the future, Rogen responded, "Yes." The two of them have worked together on a number of movies, including Sausage Party and The Interview.
Back in January, the Los Angeles Times published the accounts of five women who accused Franco of sexual misconduct. Of the five accusers, four had been students at Studio 4, a film school Franco founded and had closed last year. In a statement provided to the Times, Franco's attorney Michael Plonsker disputed the claims and directed the publication to Franco's comments about the allegations as stated on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert on Jan. 10:
“Look, in my life I pride myself on taking responsibility for things that I have done. I have to do that to maintain my well being. 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. If I have done something wrong. I will fix it — I have to.”
Among the Los Angeles Times allegations were claims that Franco was "angry" when women didn't want to be topless while filming a scene. There was also an allegation that Franco reportedly took off a protective guard during scenes that included simulated oral sex. (At the time, Bustle reached out to Franco's rep for additional comment, but did not receive a response.)
Earlier that month, two women, Violet Paley and Sarah Tither-Kaplan, accused Franco of misconduct via Twitter, criticizing Franco for wearing a Time's Up pin at the Golden Globes. (These are also claims he has denied.)
In a Jan. 11 appearance on Late Night With Seth Meyers, Franco addressed Paley and Tither Kaplan's allegations and said that "this is a conversation that obviously needs to be had." He told Meyers,
"I was sent a couple of the tweets. So yeah, I did read them. I haven't responded. The ones I read were not accurate, but one of the things that I've learned is that this is a conversation that obviously needs to be had. There are people, women and others, who have not been a part of this conversation. I truly believe, and why I was wearing the pin, is that they need to be a part of this conversation. I support them."
It sounds like Rogen (and to some extent, Franco himself) wants to keep the focus on the women who have spoken out, rather than on what his own opinion might be. And while fans can't know the specifics of what truly happened, Rogen deciding to listen to the victims rather than elevate his own voice is a respectable position to take.
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.