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UPDATE: After James Franco addressed his sexual misconduct allegations for the first time on Wednesday, the women who sued him and earned a $2.2 million settlement are calling his interview “insensitive” and “a transparent ducking of the real issues.”

“In addition to being blind about power dynamics, Franco is completely insensitive to, and still apparently does not care about, the immense pain and suffering he put his victims through with this sham of an acting school. It is unbelievable that even after agreeing to a settlement he continues to downplay the survivors’ experiences and ignore their pain, despite acknowledging he had no business starting such a school in the first place. This wasn’t a misunderstanding over a course name, it wasn’t the result of him being overworked — it was, and is, despicable conduct. Nobody should confuse this interview with Franco taking accountability for his actions or expressing remorse over what happened. It is a transparent ducking of the real issues released just before a major holiday in hopes that he wouldn’t face any scrutiny over his response,” attorneys at Valli Kane & Vagnini LLP and Hadsell, Stormer Renick & Dai LLP said in a statement to Variety on behalf of their clients.

In June, Franco settled a lawsuit for $2.2 million that alleged that he and his associates coerced acting students into performing sexually explicit scenes on camera. The actor broke his silence on SiriusXM’s “The Jess Cagle” podcast, where he discussed the allegations and his history with addiction.

“In 2018, there were some complaints about me and an article about me. And at that moment I just thought, ‘I’m gonna be quiet. I’m gonna pause.’ [It] did not seem like the right time to say anything. There were people that were upset with me and I needed to listen,” Franco said.

In January 2018, five women accused Franco of inappropriate and sexually exploitative behavior while four of them were students at his acting school Studio 4, which was soon closed. Two of the students filed a lawsuit in 2019 alleging that classes existed mainly to create a way for Franco and his associates to take advantage of young women. In June 2021, Franco paid $2,235,000 as a settlement, with $894,000 going to the named plaintiffs and $1,341,000 going into a common fund for the rest of the members of the lawsuit.

Franco admitted to sleeping with students at his acting school, and said that the course, titled “Sex Scenes,” should have been renamed.

“The stupidest thing I did, or one of the stupidest things I did, at the school was I called one of my classes — a masterclass — ‘Sex Scenes.’ It was not about sex scenes. I was not teaching people how to do sex scenes or intimate scenes or anything of that nature…It should have been called Contemporary Romance or something like that. It was a class where they did scenes about whatever their romance is. What they go through as young people. So meeting people on dating apps, or breakups or just a bad date — stuff like that. That’s what was being done in that class. It was not sex scenes.” he said.

Later on he admitted, “Over the course of my teaching, I did sleep with students and that was wrong. But like I said, it’s not why I started the school and I didn’t — I wasn’t the person that selected the people to be in the class. So it wasn’t a master plan on my part.”

Franco said that he’s been working on himself in the wake of the allegations, and he underwent treatment for substance abuse that helped his addiction issues.

“I’ve just been doing a lot of work and I guess I’m pretty confident in saying four years? I was in recovery before for substance abuse,” he said. “There were some issues that I had to deal with that were also related to addiction. And so I’ve really used my recovery background to kind of start examining this and changing who I was.”

Franco also addressed Seth Rogen’s previous comments that he has no plans to work with his former collaborator, saying that Rogen’s statement was accurate and that Franco didn’t want Rogen or anyone else to have to answer for his actions.

See clips from Franco’s interview below.