James Franco, whose film and TV career slowed after several women accused him of sexual harassment in 2018, has faced new allegations of being sexually inappropriate with Amber Heard, like her ex-husband, Johnny Depp , testified on Wednesday in his libel suit against a British tabloid.
On the witness stand in the High Court in London, Depp said Heard called Franco a “rapist”, the Evening Standard reported. The actress also told him she was forced to run away from his sexual advances when they worked together on the 2008 comedy film “The Pineapple Express,” Depp said.
“She told me a lot of very, very negative things about Mr. Franco, that he tried to kiss her and made sexual advances on her on the previous movie they did together,” Depp testified. “She said he was a bad guy and a rapist. She said he was quite aggressive in his advances towards her.
Depp made these statements about Franco in the context of Heard’s allegations that he was so jealous of her and Franco working together again that he flew into a “blind rage” and became violent towards her during a a private jet flight in 2014, reported the Evening Standard. .
The 57-year-old ‘The Pirates of the Caribbean’ star is suing The Sun’s publisher, News Group Newspapers (NGN), and tabloid editor Dan Wootton over a 2018 article that called him a “beater wife” and alleged he attacked Heard, 34, during their 15-month relationship and marriage.
Depp strenuously denied ever physically attacking Heard, with the star testifying that the ‘sociopathic’ actress was violent towards him and used their relationship to boost his career, the Daily Mail reported. Depp testified that his upbringing in the South made it “inconceivable” that he would ever be violent towards a woman.
Lawyers for The Sun said the publication’s description of Depp as a “wife beater” is “entirely accurate and truthful.” They cite extensive evidence in support of the defense that Depp beat Heard in violent rages, brought on by anger and jealousy and fueled by alcohol and drugs, Reuters reported. Evidence includes photos, audio recordings and Depp’s own text messages.
The couple met on the set of the 2011 film ‘The Rum Diary’ and married in February 2015. However, Heard filed for divorce in May 2016; their divorce was finalized in 2017.
Palo Alto-born Franco, 42, and Tesla CEO Elon Musk were dragged into the defamation case because Depp’s lawyers said on the first day of the trial that the actress had extramarital affairs with both.
Franco and Musk both denied having a romantic relationship with Heard while she was with Depp, Page Six reported. Musk and Heard were publicly identified as a couple following his split from Depp, and they reportedly had an on-and-off relationship that could have continued until 2018.
Depp said he and Heard had a falling out over his willingness to work with Franco again on the 2015 film ‘The Adderall Diaries’, the Evening Standard reported. Depp was puzzled, given that she had spoken of her “negative” experience with the actor years earlier.” According to what Depp was told by Heard, Franco made repeated sexual advances, “leaning in and saying I’m going to kiss you”.
Depp acknowledged that Heard’s interest in working with Franco made him “jealous” again, telling the court: “It shocked me that she was suddenly so friendly and happy with him.”
He also said that Heard’s desire to team up with Franco did not match his stated desire not to be a “sex object” in the movies.
“She was hoping to make better movies with more meat in the role, she didn’t want to be objectified and didn’t have to do nude scenes anymore,” Depp said. “I was of course uncomfortable with the idea of her doing nudity.”
During a confrontation on a private jet flight in 2014, Depp allegedly punched Heard in the face, kicked her in the back and pelted her with ice cubes. In cross-examination, Depp was asked if he called Heard a “bitch” and pressed her to explain “how much she loved having fun” with Franco.
Depp denied hitting Heard. “It’s possible Ms Heard and I had a fight when those words came out of my mouth, but I didn’t get mad and start yelling at her in front of all those people.”
Depp’s descriptions of Franco’s allegedly ‘creepy’ behavior come nine months after two women filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles County Superior Court claiming the ‘Freaks and Geeks’ star and his partners in a Los Angeles’ now-defunct acting school had sexually exploited them while they were students.
The women, Sarah Tither-Kaplan and Toni Gaal, alleged that Franco pushed his students to perform in increasingly explicit sex scenes on camera in an “orgy-like setting”. The women said they were promised roles in Franco’s films if they accepted.
Similar allegations against Franco first surfaced in a January 2018 Los Angeles Times report, in which five women, including Tither-Kaplan, claimed he had engaged in sexually harassing or abusive behavior. when he was their teacher at Studio 24.
The Los Angeles Times report also came four days after the night that was supposed to be the start of a career awards season for Franco.
On January 7, 2018, Franco appeared before a worldwide TV audience at the Golden Globe Awards to accept the award for Best Actor in a Comedy for his film “The Disaster Artist.” It was his first big win of the 2017-18 awards season; the Golden Globe was supposed to make him a serious contender for a Best Actor Oscar nomination.
But the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements were in full swing in January 2018. Allegations that Franco was inappropriate for women started pouring in hours after his Golden Globe appearance. Weeks after the Golden Globes, Palo Alto Unified School District officials ordered a mural Franco painted at Palo Alto High to be painted. Franco graduated from Palo Alto High in 1996 and was a frequent guest on campus.
Other works of art that Franco donated to his alma mater in 2014 were also to be “transferred” off campus, according to a statement released by school officials. The erasure of the works and gifts of Paly High’s most famous graduate came after pressure from parents as well as controversy on campus.
Franco’s career has slowed since 2017, with the actor declaring in late 2017 that he would be taking some time off. Through his attorney, the actor denied the allegations in the women’s lawsuit. “James will not only fully defend himself, but will also seek damages from plaintiffs and their attorneys for filing this libelous publicity lawsuit,” his attorney Michael Plonsker said in a statement.