Actress Ashley Judd, who is a longtime advocate of women’s rights and sexual assault victims, has called actor James Franco’s response to sexual misconduct allegations “terrific”.
Judd told Stephen Sackur, host of HARDtalk, that she was pleased with Franco’s response to accusations of acting inappropriately towards a number of women in the past.
“I think that what James said is terrific. And I think that we have all behaved, at a certain level, unconsciously, and done things that were insensitive, inappropriate, without necessarily understanding that they were,” Judd said.
“I mean, we have all operated with a certain amount of tone deafness, and I like the culpability, and we have to have restorative justice.
“This is about men and women being all together and having a more equitable and just workplace, home life, social spaces. I mean, we know that when women are empowered in the workplace and are in decision-making positions that workplaces have better financial outcomes and there’s less harassment when there is more diversity,” she added.
And it takes that kind of “individual accountability to collectively make the change on a large scale”.
Controversy around Franco started to erupt on January 7, when he appeared at the Golden Globes, and two women accused him of sexual misconduct and inappropriate behaviour on Twitter.
In an article published in the Los Angeles Times on January 11, five women accused the actor of abusing his power as an acting teacher and mentor in a sexually exploitative manner.
Franco’s attorney, Michael Plonsker, denied each of the women’s allegations, and cited Franco’s comments on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert as his formal denial.
“Look, in my life I pride myself on taking responsibility for things that I have done,” Franco told Colbert.
“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.”
“He’s in a really bad place. His close friends are trying to be there for him but it’s been hard — he’s only talking to a select group of people. For now, he’s just hiding out,” a source close to the actor said.