May 16, 2021

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Charlyne Yi accuses James Franco of being a ‘sexual predator’

Charlyne Yi has spoken out about her experience working with James Franco on The Disaster Artist, calling the actor a “sexual predator”.

Yi, who played designer Safowa Bright-Asare in the Oscar-nominated 2017 movie, wrote on Instagram on Thursday (8 April) that she had tried to quit the film due to accusations of sexual assault circling Franco, who played the lead and directed.

Yi wrote that she attempted to “break legal contract”, but the filmmakers instead offered her a bigger role, which Yi said she saw as an attempted bribe.

“I cried and told them that that was the exact opposite of what I wanted, that I didn’t feel safe working with a f***ing sexual predator,” Yi wrote.

“They minimized and said Franco being a predator was so last year and that he changed… when I literally heard of him abusing new women that week.”

Additionally, Yi wrote that Seth Rogen, whose production company Point Grey Pictures, which produced the film, was an “enabler” of Franco’s. “Seth Rogen was one of the producers on this film so he definitely knows about the bribe and why I quit.”

“White men saying it’s not their responsibility when holding Franco accountable, or when holding Seth Rogen and enablers accountable,” Yi continued. “Then whose responsibility is it? The women and children who have PTSD from Franco? Or the future targets of abuse?”

The Independent has reached out to both Rogen and Franco’s representatives for comment.

Yi previously appeared with Rogen in the 2007 comedy Knocked Up.

Franco has previously faced accusations of sexual misconduct. In 2014, a 17-year-old girl shared screenshots of messages between her and the actor, who was then 35, inviting her to meet him at a hotel room. Franco confirmed that he had sent those messages at the time.

In 2018, Franco’s ex-girlfriend Violet Paley alleged that the actor had tried to force her to give him oral sex while in a car. At the time, Franco termed these allegations as “not accurate”.

That same year, the Los Angeles Times reported that five women were accusing Franco of sexually inappropriate behaviour at Franco’s acting school, Studio 4, which closed in 2017. Two of the women filed lawsuits in 2019, but they were settled in February this year. Franco has denied all allegations through his legal representatives.