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HBO and David Simon respond to James Franco misconduct allegations

From left to right: James Franco, David Simon, and Maggie Gyllenhaal present The Deuce panel at the 2017 TCA summer press tour (Photo: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

James Franco was honored with a Critics’ Choice Award last night for his work on The Disaster Artist, despite The Los Angeles Times publishing allegations from five women that he’d engaged in exploitative or sexually inappropriate behavior while they were his students or mentees. And it appears that HBO is also withholding any tough love for the moment—according to The Hollywood Reporter, the premium-cable network plans to wait and see what comes of the accusations before making any decisions on Franco’s future on The Deuce, in which he plays smarmy twins.

The Deuce co-creator and EP David Simon weighed in on the matter via press release, indicating that he’s “still reading it the same as everyone else, trying to discern what is or isn’t there.” The statement goes on: “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.” Simon relayed HBO’s stance: “In our experience, [Franco] was entirely professional as an actor, director and producer.”


HBO has acted more decisively against alleged harassers and abusers in the recent past; before Louis CK admitted to sexual misconduct, the network cut ties with the Lucky Louie creator, and also nixed plans for a miniseries with Mark Halperin, who was fired by NBC News after five women accused him of sexual harassment.

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