James Franco Skipped Out on the Critic's Choice Awards Following Multiple Sexual Misconduct Allegations

After taking home a Golden Globes Award on Sunday, and claiming the title of Best Actor in a Comedy at the Critics' Choice Awards on Thursday, James Franco should be celebrating, but he's hiding instead. While his most recent projects, including The Disaster Artist and HBO series The Deuce, are taking over awards season, Franco's career success is met with several allegations of sexual misconduct. According to Entertainment Weekly, the actor was absent to accept his Critics' Choice Award on Thursday evening, and the timing is just all too coincidental. 

Early Thursday morning, The Los Angeles Times published an extensive exposé that detailed the stories of five women accusing Franco of sexually inappropriate or exploitative behavior. The actor wore a pin in support of the Time's Up Movement at the Golden Globes, which sparked anger among several actresses who have worked with Franco in the past. Some former students came forward to share their unpleasant experiences with The Times, forcing the actor straight into the hot seat. 

“The power dynamic was really off," student filmmaker Violet Paley told the publication. "I was talking to him, all of a sudden his penis was out. I got really nervous, and I said, 'Can we do this later?' He was kind of nudging my head down, and I just didn’t want him to hate me, so I did it."

Other women accused Franco of becoming angry when actresses refused to take their tops off, encouraging students to perform sexual acts for certain acting roles, and even removing plastic coverings during a stimulation of oral sex. In a following interview with TIME, Paley expressed her interest in an apology from her former mentor.

"I wish he had originally replied to my email and met with me and just listened. I wish he made a promise to change," she said. “When the allegations against Louis C.K. came out — and they were disgusting — he acknowledged what he did. It would give me some comfort if he were to say, 'What happened was true and I’m sorry.'"

Franco and his lawyer have denied the allegations. As the actor told Stephen Colbert on The Late Show, "The way I live my life, 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."

Franco continued his defense, "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. So, I don’t want to shut them down in any way. It’s a good thing and I support it." 

Co-creator of The Deuce, David Simon, also released a statement in defense of Franco, saying, "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.”

Though Franco has not officially commented on his absence, we can only assume that he was too preoccupied in the hot seat to claim one at the Critics' Choice Awards.