Maggie Gyllenhaal Image Credit: AFP

The Deuce star and producer Maggie Gyllenhaal defended resuming production on the HBO series despite co-star James Franco being accused by several women of sexually inappropriate and exploitative behaviour.

“It would’ve been the wrong consequence to those accusations to shut our show down,” she said Tuesday on SiriusXM’s Sway in the Morning when she was promoting her Netflix film, The Kindergarten Teacher.

“It would’ve been like actually the opposite of the right thing to do. And yet, you know, look, I believe that there should be consequences for disrespecting or assaulting women. Of course I do,” she added.

The topic came up when the host asked the actress about the latest scandal looming around Franco: Actress Busy Philipps had just contended Franco allegedly assaulted her in 1999 while they were working on the TV series Freaks and Geeks. (Franco allegedly broke character and pushed her, she said, then he later apologised.)

From there, Gyllenhaal segued into how The Deuce team handled the accusations against Franco when they were published in the Los Angeles Times in January. Franco has vehemently denied those allegations.

“Of course, as a producer, although I think I would’ve felt similarly as an actor, but I felt it was my responsibility to do the opposite of ignore [the allegations],” Gyllenhaal said. “At the time, that the accusations against James came out in the LA Times, we read them all. We took them very seriously. We spoke to every woman on the crew and in the cast to find out if they felt respected and what their experience of working with James was and everyone said that they had been totally respected by him.”

HBO and co-showrunner David Simon also defended the actor, saying no complaints about him were made and his behaviour on the show was entirely professional. Last month, HBO announced that it was renewing The Deuce for a third and final season.

The Oscar-nominated actress also discussed her role in the cultural context, particularly how she asserted creative control as a producer on the show, which is a 1970s drama that revolves around sex workers and the porn industry.