Seth Rogen says he has no plans to work with his frequent collaborator James Franco following accusations of sexual misconduct by multiple women.
Rogen made the comments in an interview posted Sunday by the Sunday Times Magazine to promote his new memoir, Yearbook, admitting their friendship has been affected by the accusations.
Rogen and Franco have co-starred in several projects, as early as the short-lived 1999 series Freaks and Geeks and including movies such as Pineapple Express, This Is the End and The Disaster Artist.
In 2018, five women accused Franco of sexual inappropriate or exploitative behavior following his Golden Globes win for best actor in The Disaster Artist. Sarah Tither-Kaplan, a former acting student at the film school Franco founded, Studio4, described a “bonus: nude orgy scene with Franco and several women that she was asked to film for the movie The Long Home in 2015. She said Franco removed the protective guards that are used to cover female genitals during the scene and that Franco simulated oral sex on them without protection.
She added that she and her female co-stars were asked to appear topless in an unscripted scene and dance around Franco while wearing animal skulls on their heads. When one of the actresses declined, she was kicked off the shoot. (Tither-Kaplan and another accuser reached settlement agreements with Franco earlier this year.)
More recently, actress Charlene Yi took to Instagram to say after she tried to quit Disaster Artist “because James Franco is a sexual predator, they tried to bribe me with a bigger acting role. I cried and told them that was the exact opposite of what I wanted, that I didn’t feel safe working with a fucking sexual predator. They minimized & said Franco being a predator was so last yr and that he changed… when I literally heard of him abusing new women that week.” She also called out “Seth Rogen and enablers,” saying they should be held accountable (Rogen was a producer on the film).
After the accusations came out in 2018, Rogen told an interviewer he would keep working with Franco, but now says he’s had a change of mind.
“I … 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,” he told the Sunday Times Magazine.
Asked if he believes the accusations from Yi, Rogen replied: “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. However, 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.”
The joke he was referring to was part of the monologue, where Rogen — who was that week’s SNL host — made light of messages that surfaced purportedly between Franco and a 17-year-old girl in which he allegedly tried to meet up with the girl.
Pretending to read from his “journal” of what he’d been doing recently, Rogen joked: “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.”
Franco later popped up to quip: “Hey, great prank, buddy. I’ve been waiting at the Ace Hotel for three days.”
In his interview with the Sunday Times Magazine, Rogen admitted that his friendship with Franco has been affected by the accusations but said he could not say if that mean they were no longer friends. “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,” he said.
Asked if that was painful, Rogen added: “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.”
The Hollywood Reporter has reached out to Franco’s reps for comment.