image copyrightGetty Imagesimage captionJames Franco has starred in films such as 127 Hours and Milk

James Franco has agreed to pay $2.2m (£1.6m) to settle a legal case which accused the star of sexual misconduct.

Sarah Tither-Kaplan and Toni Gaal, who attended Franco's now-defunct Studio 4 acting school, sued him in Los Angeles in October 2019.

They alleged the actor engaged in "sexually-charged behaviour towards female students".

Franco's lawyers had previously described the claims as "false and inflammatory".

The class action lawsuit – a legal claim made by more than one person against a defendant – also alleged he abused his position and dangled opportunities for roles in his films.

In this case, students claimed they were victims of fraud for paying for the acting school while being sexually objectified and intimidated.

image copyrightGetty Imagesimage captionJames Franco (left) won a 2018 Golden Globe for The Disaster Artist in which his brother Dave Franco (right) also featured

In February it was reported that Franco, Ms Tither-Kaplan and Ms Gaal had reached a settlement, but the exact details were only released on Wednesday.

Court filings linked to the case state that the proposed settlement is now going to be put in front of a judge, who will decide whether to approve it.

If it is signed off, Ms Tither-Kaplan will receive $670,500 (£486,107) with $223,500 (£162,036) being deducted for lawyers' fees.

Ms Gaal will receive $223,500 (£162,036) with $74,500 (£54,013 paid to lawyers. The remaining $1.341m (£971,910) will be divided among other students that were involved with the case, minus further legal fees.

The deal also applies to Franco's production company, Rabbit Bandini, and his two business partners, Vince Jolivette and Jay Davis.

'Critical' focus on mistreatment

If a judge signs off on the settlement, all parties will release a joint statement in which Franco would continue to deny the allegations.

It would read: "The parties and their counsel are pleased to have resolved portions of this dispute and pending lawsuit.

"While defendants continue to deny the allegations in the complaint, they acknowledge that plaintiffs have raised important issues; and all parties strongly believe that now is a critical time to focus on addressing the mistreatment of women in Hollywood.

"All agree on the need to make sure that no-one in the entertainment industry – regardless of sex, race, religion, disability, ethnicity, background, gender or sexual orientation – faces discrimination, harassment or prejudice of any kind."

'Not accurate'

Studio 4 opened in 2014 and closed three years later.

Ms Tither-Kaplan and Ms Gaal said in their original filing in 2019 that Franco tried to "create a pipeline of young women who were subjected to his personal and professional sexual exploitation in the name of education".

He was accused of abusing his position by pushing female students into taking part in sex scenes and "dangling the opportunity for roles" in his films.

The actor denied the claims at the time, with his lawyers describing them as "ill-informed".

Ms Tither-Kaplan had previously come forward with allegations of sexual misconduct against the actor-director, shortly after he won a Golden Globe Award for his film The Disaster Artist in 2018.

image copyrightGetty Imagesimage captionSeth Rogen [L] said in May he has "no plans" to work again with Franco, who he made several films with

When the allegations first surfaced, Franco said they were "not accurate".

Franco is particularly well known for his work with Seth Rogen, including on films such as Sausage Party, The Interview and This Is The End. Franco has also directed several films including The Disaster Artist, Sal and Zeroville, which also starred Rogen.

Franco was nominated for best actor at the Oscars in 2011, for his starring role in 127 Hours, which was directed by Danny Boyle.

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