Seth Rogen Publicly Cuts Ties with Long-time Friend, James Franco, Over Sexual Misconduct Allegations

Some might call it a case of fair weather friends.

Actor Seth Rogen revealed in a UK Times story published Sunday that he has no plans to work with James Franco again, despite their close collaboration for more than 20 years.

The pair first met on the 1999 set of the critically-acclaimed “Freaks and Geeks,” a series that also brought them long-term working relationships with director Judd Apatow. They would go on to star in five films together —  including “Pineapple Express,” “This Is the End,” “The Interview,” and, most recently, 2017’s “The Disaster Artist.”

But that was before Franco faced allegations of sexually inappropriate behavior.  

In 2018, at the height of the #MeToo movement, five female students at Franco’s acting school accused him of sexually exploiting them by pressuring them to disrobe during rehearsal. One also claimed he removed a protective plastic guard while they were filming the oral sex portion of an orgy scene. None of the women pressed charges and no police investigation ever ensued. Franco settled a lawsuit with one woman for an undisclosed amount. 

Settlement notwithstanding, Franco has always denied the claims, telling late night host Stephen Colbert, “Look, in my life I pride myself on taking responsibility for things that I have done. I have to do that to maintain my well being. 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.”

When Franco’s accusers first came forward, Rogen said he would still work with his frequent co-star. Clearly he’s had a change of heart.

Asked why he is cutting ties with Franco now when his former co-star still denies the allegations and none have been definitively proven, Rogen said, “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 in question came during the opening monologue. “I decided to prank James Franco,” Rogen said. “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.”

The bit referred to a brief scandal that year when Franco allegedly tried to arrange a meeting with a fan a few days before her 18th birthday. Industry insiders at the time thought the story could have been a publicity stunt for his film, “Palo Alto,” in which Franco plays a high school teacher who begins an inappropriate relationship with a teen.

Rogen told The Times he’s not sure if he’d call Franco a friend now. “I don’t know if I can define that right now during this interview,” he said, seeming uncomfortable with the question. “I can say it, um, you know, it has changed many things in our relationship and our dynamic.”

With friends like these, as the saying goes.

Megan Basham (@megbasham) is the entertainment reporter for The Daily Wire. She’s a Rotten Tomatoes-approved critic who was previously an entertainment editor and podcast co-host for World Magazine. 

The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.

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