Despite allegations of inappropriate behavior, it appears James Franco has been welcomed back to The Deuce. On Sunday, writer Megan Abbottconfirmed to reporters at the Writers Guild Awards ceremony that the actor would return for the porn-industry drama’s second season.
Five women have accused Franco of inappropriate behavior and abuse of power. Allegations include Franco attempting to coerce a woman into performing oral sex, and pressuring students in his acting classes to perform nude and semi-nude scenes that made them uncomfortable. As one former student put it, “I got it in my head pretty quickly that, O.K., you don’t say ‘no’ to this guy.” Franco has denied the allegations on multiple occasions, including on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and Late Night with Seth Meyers.
“In my life, I pride myself on taking responsibility for things that I’ve done,” Franco told Colbert in January, soon after allegations spread following his best-actor award at the Golden Globes—which he accepted while wearing a Time’s Up pin. “I have to do that to maintain my well-being,” Franco continued. “I do it whenever I know that there is something wrong or needs to be changed. I make it a point to do it. 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.”
“The way I live my life,” Franco added, “I can’t live if there’s restitution to be made. I will make it. So if I’ve done something wrong, I will fix it. I have to.”
As Franco denied the allegations, The Deuce co-creator David Simon offered his own statement to Variety. “I’m still reading it the same as everyone else, trying to discern what is or isn’t there,” Simon wrote. “Personally I can only speak knowledgeably to The Deuce. I’ve checked with all my fellow producers and other personnel. We have no complainant or complaint or any awareness of any incident of concern involving Mr. Franco. Nor has HBO been approached with any complaint. In our experience, he was entirely professional as an actor, director, and producer.”
During the lead-up to Oscar nominations, many wondered whether Franco—long considered a safe bet for a nod—would still get cited at the awards despite the accusations. Instead, the actor got snubbed on the same morning two of his accusers gave their first TV interviews. An unnamed source told E! News at the time that Franco was actually “relieved” to be overlooked by the Oscars.
“James is disappointed in not getting an Oscar nomination, but also very understanding and somewhat relieved,” the source said following the announcement. “He doesn’t want it to look like the snub is correlated with the allegations against him.” (Oscar-nomination voting ran from January 5 through January 12; the first public allegations against Franco surfaced on social media January 7.)
Representatives for HBO did not immediately respond to V.F.’s request for comment.
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