For years, Seth Rogen and James Franco have had a strong personal and professional relationship, leading them to work on various films together over time. However, that connection has changed drastically as a result of the many allegations of sexual misconduct against Franco, and Rogen is now publicly distancing himself from his former collaborator and friend.
Franco has almost always been a controversial figure in Hollywood, but people really started viewing him differently after a 2018 LA Times report detailed the accusations of five women who claimed that the actor had been sexually inappropriate with them when he was teaching acting class. The report was released at the height of the #MeToo movement, resulting in a wave of intense criticism towards Franco. At the time, his friend and frequent co-star Rogen stuck by his side, saying that the accusations wouldn’t keep him from working with Franco again.
“The truth is that my perspective on this is the least relevant perspective,” Rogen said. “I’m friends with these people and I’m a dude. All that combined makes me the last person who should be talking about this.”
“There are so many people with real things to contribute to the #MeToo discussion that anything I say is not going to add anything useful,” he added.
Years later, however, it seems that Rogen doesn’t feel the same way anymore. The case wrapped up — the women filed a lawsuit against Franco that was ultimately settled in February 2021 — but the weed entrepreneur has now taken on a very different perspective. In conversation with The Sunday Times, Rogen walked back his previous support of Franco and revealed that their working relationship had been significantly affected by the allegations.
“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,” he told the outlet. “I also look back to that interview in 2018 where I comment that I would keep working with James, and the truth is that I have not and I do not plan to right now.”
Rogen also hinted that his friendship with Franco had also been impacted by the legal issues.
“I don’t know if I can define that right now during this interview,” Rogen explained carefully. “I can say it, um, you know, it has changed many things in our relationship and our dynamic.”
Better late than never when it comes to this kind of personal responsibility, but Rogen’s past behaviour is hard to forget, especially when some of it was particular harmful towards Franco’s alleged victims. In his 2014 Saturday Night Live opening monologue, he famously joked about Franco’s alleged sexual misconduct with a teenager onstage (a moment that he does now regret) — that moment doesn’t just go away, even with an apology. Nonetheless, Rogen’s change of heart and contrition is important, and his choice to not work with an alleged abuser is one small step forward for making spaces that much safer for women.
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