Seth Rogen is finally taking a stand in the case of his old friend James Franco’s sexual misconduct.
Allegations about Franco emerged multiple times over the course of his career, most notably in 2018 around the time his film The Disaster Artist hit the awards circuit. He has been the subject of suspicion for pursuing a 17-year-old girl, and faced accusations of misconduct from students of his acting school. The 127 Hours star has flown under the radar in recent years, but his actions have still been the subject of scrutiny.
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James and Seth enjoyed a long friendship that included many professional collaborations, starting with their roles in the cult classic TV series Freaks and Geeks and including movies like Pineapple Express, This is the End, The Interview, and the aforementioned Disaster Artist. Recently, comedian Charlyne Yi opened up about her experience on the latter film and called out Rogen for enabling his friend’s behavior.
In a new interview with The Sunday Times, the Long Shot star finally addressed his relationship with James and Charlyne’s comments. He told the British outlet:
“What I can say is that I despise abuse and harassment and I would never cover or conceal the actions of someone doing it, or knowingly put someone in a situation where they were around someone like that.”
The 39-year-old had previously treated his friend’s controversies more lightly.
While hosting Saturday Night Live in 2014, he joked during his monologue about the time Franco was caught messaging an underage girl online:
“I decided to prank James Franco. I posed as a girl on Instagram, told him I was way young. He seemed unfazed. I have a date to meet him at the Ace Hotel.”
That is not something Seth would do today. To the Times, the Neighbors star admitted:
“I do look back at a joke I made on ‘Saturday Night Live’ in 2014 and I very much regret making that joke. It was a terrible joke, honestly.”
In 2018, however, is when the real scandal hit. Franco was accused of predatory behavior against female students in his acting class. In a lawsuit, several of the students claimed Franco and his partners “engaged in widespread inappropriate and sexually charged behavior towards female students by sexualizing their power as a teacher and an employer by dangling the opportunity for roles in their projects.” If true, just disgusting…
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And yet, after that hit Rogen was asked by Vulture if he would continue to work with Franco and said he would. But that has changed. He told the Times:
“I also look back to that interview in 2018 where I comment that I would keep working with James, and the truth is that I have not and I do not plan to right now.”
The famous stoner admitted it was “not a coincidence” that he hadn’t collaborated professionally with the controversial artist in some time but hesitated to comment on their personal relationship.
On whether they are still friends, he would only say:
“I don’t know if I can define that right now during this interview. I can say it, um, you know, it has changed many things in our relationship and our dynamic.”
Sounds to us like their friendship is pretty much over — though it’s too personal and awkward to talk about in an interview.
When the interviewer commented that the situation “must have been painful,” he replied:
“Yeah. But not as painful and difficult as it is for a lot of other people involved. I have no pity for myself in this situation.”
Hmm. Well, seems to be a mature response to the situation, albeit several years after the fact. Better late than never, we suppose?
[Image via Brian To/WENN]