Two former students of James Franco's now-closed acting school filed a lawsuit Thursday alleging that the classes existed principally to create a way for Franco and his associates to take advantage of young women.
Franco's attorney denied the allegations at the time. Tither-Kaplan is one of five women who came forward with allegations against Franco in a January 2018 article in the Los Angeles Times.
The class action attorneys, at the firm of Valli Kane & Vagnini, are looking for additional students to come forward to participate in the suit. The complaint states claims of sex discrimination, sexual harassment, fraud, and false advertising. It seeks to establish two plaintiff classes: one for students who were sexually exploited, and a second for all Studio 4 students, who the suit claims were all defrauded.
"As Plaintiffs experienced and observed, Studio 4 served no other legitimate purposes other than to dupe unsuspecting and often very young 'students' out of their money and talent to serve Defendants' financial and exploitative desires," the suit states.
The auditions were taped, and Franco would review the tapes to see who would be allowed into the class. As part of the school, Franco taught a "master class" on sex scenes, according to the complaint. In auditions for the master classes, the students were pressured to engage in sexual activity that went well beyond the industry norm, the plaintiffs allege.
Franco and his business partner Vince Jolivette opened the Studio 4 school in 2014, with branches in New York and Los Angeles.
Instead, the women claim they were intimidated and sexually objectified, and found that those who were willing to disrobe in front of Franco and his friends were afforded special treatment. The suit alleges that the students paid $300 a month, thinking they were participating in a bona fide acting school.
"In our experience, he was entirely professional as an actor, director, and producer," Simon said last year.” />
Sarah Tither-Kaplan and Toni Gaal filed the class action complaint in Los Angeles County Superior Court, saying that 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.”
David Simon, the show's co-creator and executive producer, has previously said that no complaints have been lodged against Franco in connection with the show. Franco stars on the HBO show "The Deuce," now in its third and final season.

Women and children
First sight of the new world
[Post-Chorus]
We tried a lot, she cried a lot
She said the struggle is no more
We act the part, I cracked her heart
Am I still one of the good ones? Women and children
First sight of the new world
[Post-Chorus]
The taste of cocaine
Dixieland of pain, King James, Frank Ocean, and Boy Scouts
History’s strange, rearranged plays
(James Franco, take it, missed it now)
(That’s a good one)
[Verse 2]
It’s sick, the way we fight and spit
Somehow we find each other even when we’re trying to quit
‘Cause right behind our shit we like each other quite a bit
But I might admit, it’s pitiful the way the line was split
A hundred thousand years and we’re still trying to find the clit
But we don’t have an ending yet we get to write the script
It isn’t gonna do to move our lips, we prove it with the chips
[Chorus]
She’s capsizing and the sea keeps rising and my kneecaps start to shake (Women and children)
If I can’t save us, will the sea come take us when the whitecaps start to break? (Women and children)
She’s capsizing and the sea keeps rising and my kneecaps start to shake (Women and children)
If I can’t save us, will the sea come take us when the whitecaps start to break? [Chorus]
She’s capsizing and the sea keeps rising and my kneecaps start to shake
If I can’t save us, will the sea come take us when the whitecaps start to break? (Women and children)
[Outro]
First sight of the new world
First sight of the new world
First sight of the new world
First sight of the new world (That’s a good one)
[Verse 1]
You wanna brawl and crawl back into bed
But I can’t move at all, I’m stalled and in my head
I’m out here playin’ dead, we are not fit to duel
Our parents gave us different pistols, taught us different rules
Your father was cruel, this man you resent
Is despite your best intentions what I represent
I say it isn’t right, you say you always right
Be prepared to fight (Be prepared to fight)
[Chorus]
She’s capsizing and the sea keeps rising and my kneecaps start to shake
If I can’t save us, will the sea come take us when the whitecaps start to break?