Ashley Judd Thinks James Franco's Response to Sexual Misconduct Claims Is "Terrific"

In a new interview with BBC’s Stephen Sackur for HARDtalk, the actress weighed in on what she thinks of the actor’s response to recent allegations

By Elyse Dupre Jan 13, 2018 12:26 AMTags

Ashley Judd discussed James Franco's response to the sexual misconduct allegations against him in a new interview with HARDtalk's Stephen Sackur.

"I think that what James said is terrific," Judd told the BBC journalist. "And I think that we've all behaved, at a certain level, unconsciously, and done things that were insensitive, inappropriate, without necessarily understanding that they were. I mean, we've all operated with a certain amount of tone deafness, and I like the culpability, and we have to have restorative justice."

She then said, "This is about men and women being all together and having a more equitable and just workplace, home life, social spaces. I mean, we know that when women are empowered in the workplace and are in decision-making positions that workplaces have better financial outcomes and there's less harassment when there is more diversity. And it takes that kind of individual accountability to collectively make the change on a large scale."

James Franco "Really Hurt" by Sexual Misconduct Allegations

Franco first spoke out about the allegations on Tuesday's episode of The Late Show With Stephen Colbert. The actor told the host he hadn't read the allegations made against him on Twitter and said he had "no idea what I did to Ally Sheedy" or "why she was upset." Sheedy tweeted vague accusations against Franco during the 2018 Golden Globes but has since deleted them. Franco also called other accusations made via social media "not accurate."

"The others, look, in my life I pride myself on taking responsibility for things that I've done. I have to do that to maintain my wellbeing," he said. "I do it whenever I know that there's something wrong or needs to be changed, and I make it a point to do it. The things that I heard that were on Twitter are not accurate, but I completely support people coming out and being able to have a voice because they didn't have a voice for so long. So, I don't want to shut them down in anyway. It's, I think, a good thing, and I support it."

The Disaster Artist star then addressed the allegations again on Wednesday's episode of Late Night With Seth Meyers. Franco said he had read the tweeted allegations and described them as "not accurate." 

On Thursday, the Los Angeles Times published an exposé about Franco in which five women detailed their accusations against him. Franco's attorney Michael Plonsker denied the allegations. 

The exact timing of when Judd's interview was conducted is not immediately clear in the teaser.

In addition to discussing Franco's response to the allegations, Judd said she thinks it's "fantastic" to have a conversation around appropriate and inappropriate behavior.

"I think it's fantastic to have the conversation, and starting to articulate and identify and have a gradient of behaviors—and understand that there is a spectrum of behavior—that's so important," she said. "You know, unless we talk about this, and tease each part of it out, we can't understand what is unacceptable and what is. And we also need the lexicon for describing the behavior."

Furthermore, Judd said she would only take jobs in which the male and female leads were paid equally and outlined how she would assess her career moving forward.  

"In addition to asking for 50 percent male-female participation below the line, which means all the crew members, including equal representation of men and women as department heads," she said. "Because it's behind the camera where we start telling the story that the story emerges on film."

Judd accused Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment in a New York Times' exposé. While the actress said she is filled with "unmitigated, electrifying joy" that people are speaking out, she also said this isn't the first time she's experienced sexual misconduct. 

"I'm so happy. I'm so happy that it's here," she said about the movement. "I've been telling this story for a long time, since the moment it happened in fact, because you know my particular examples of harassment with Harvey Weinstein. I'm a teller—to use the word that Laura Dern used the other night on stage at the Golden Globes—I'm a tattler. And I was molested for the first time when I was 7 years old, and the first thing I did was go to a grown up and say, ‘Hey this just happened.' And is so often the case, the grown-ups said, ‘Oh, he's a nice old man. That's not what he meant,' but I somehow or another managed, Stephen, to stay absolutely authentic in my truth—that I knew that something terribly wrong had happened."

"And I think that's why I'm such a crusader for gender equality and for the full eradication of all gender and sexual-based violence," she continued, "because I experienced it as a youth. I experienced it in Hollywood. It's been the core of my humanitarian work for over 15 years. And now that this movement has collectivized and catalyzed and is here, it's incredibly gratifying to me."

Watch the videos to see the sneak peeks from Judd's interviews.

Judd's full interview will air on HARDtalk Sunday, Jan. 14 at 11:30 p.m. ET. It will then rebroadcast on Monday, Jan. 15 at 4:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. on BBC World News.