Ashley Judd, one of the first women to accuse disgraced movie producer Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault and harassment, has now lauded James Franco‘s response to sexual misconduct allegations made against him.
In an interview with the BBC, Judd said the actor’s response to the multiple accusations was “terrific.”
A bombshell Los Angeles Times report, published last Thursday, outlined the allegations of multiple women, including former students of Franco’s acting class. At least five women say the actor engaged in sexually inappropriate behaviour with them; among the allegations are simulated “orgies” in drama class and requests for female students to go topless.
Franco denied the accusations on the talk-show circuit and failed to appear at the Critics’ Choice Awards on Thursday night, where he was named best actor for his work in The Disaster Artist. (You can watch Franco’s appearance on Late Night With Stephen Colbert, below.)
On Late Night With Seth Meyers, Franco doubled down on his position, stating that he had his own point-of-view while admitting some culpability.
“I have my own side of this story, but I believe in these people that have been underrepresented getting their stories out enough that I will hold back things that I could say, just because I believe in it that much,” Franco said. “If I have to take a knock because I am not going to try and actively refute things then I will, because I believe in it that much.”
It was this comment that Judd found commendable, and she didn’t hide her feelings.
“I think that what James said is terrific,” said Judd during the BBC interview. “And I think that we’ve all behaved — at a certain level — unconsciously, and done things that were insensitive, inappropriate, without necessarily understanding that they were. I mean we’ve all operated with a certain amount of tone-deafness, and I like the culpability.”
“This is about men and women being all together and having a more equitable and just workplace, home life, social spaces,” she continued. “It takes that kind of individual accountability to collectively make the change on a large scale.”
In October of last year, Judd was one of a chorus of women accusing Weinstein of grotesque sexual harassment and assault.
Judd starred in the 1997 Weinstein-produced movie Kiss the Girls, and according to the actor, she met him at the hotel while the movie was shooting.
Even though she was supposed to meet Weinstein for breakfast, Judd said to the New York Times that she was told at the last minute that her meeting was moved to his suite.
Shortly after she arrived at his room, Judd claims that Weinstein started making sexual overtures, asking if he could give her a massage and a shoulder rub before asking if she would watch him shower.
“I said no, a lot of ways, a lot of times, and he always came back at me with some new ask,” Judd said. “It was all this bargaining, this coercive bargaining.”
She claims she agreed to have a relationship with him only when she won an Oscar, but it was only a means of escape.
“Finally, I just said when I win an Oscar in one of your movies, OK?” she said. Judd says she managed to escape the room without further incident. Afterwards, she went on to star in two more Weinstein productions.
Weinstein, who’s been accused of sexual harassment or assault by more than 100 women over the last several months, denied all allegations of non-consensual sex through his representative.
None of the accusations against Franco or Weinstein has been proven in court, and neither man has been charged with any crime.