the interview

Seth Rogen Says He Will No Longer Work With James Franco

Rogen is distancing himself from Franco after multiple allegations of sexual misconduct.

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Few pairings dominated the 2000s comedy scene like Seth Rogen and James Franco. After meeting as young actors on Judd Apatow’s cult series Freaks and Geeks in 1999, the two went on to star in successful buddy comedies like Pineapple Express, This Is the End, and The Interview, and collaborated on several more projects together.

But as sexual misconduct allegations mount against Franco, Rogen has, for the first time publicly, distanced himself from his longtime collaborator. In an interview with The Sunday Times, Rogen was asked if he felt he had enabled Franco’s behavior. Rogen responded, “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 said. “However, I do look back at a joke I made on ‘Saturday Night Live’ in 2014 and I very much regret making that joke. It was a terrible joke, honestly.”

The joke he’s referring to was made in the opening monologue, where Rogen quipped that he had pranked Franco by catfishing him as an underage girl. Franco had come under fire for messaging an underage girl on Instagram. Allegations of sexual misconduct have followed Franco, which include a lawsuit filed by several students at his former acting school, who accused him of intimidating and coercing them into sexual scenes and nudity. The suit was settled in February of this year.

In addition, Busy Philipps wrote in her autobiography, This Will Only Hurt a Little, that Franco physically attacked her on the set of Freaks and Geeks.

At the time these allegations were made, Rogen had said that he would continue to work with Franco in the future. But he’s since changed his mind, saying “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 added that their friendship has changed as well. “I don’t know if I can define that right now during this interview … I can say it, um, you know, it has changed many things in our relationship and our dynamic.”

Comedian Charlyne Yi, who quit the duo’s last collaboration The Disaster Artist over the allegations against Franco, called out the producers and Rogen for enabling Franco’s behavior in an Instagram post a month ago. She also claimed that Rogen and the producers tried to bribe her with a bigger role to stay on the production.

 

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A post shared by Charlyne Yi (@charlyne_yi)

After Rogen’s mea culpa, Yi posted a list of action items for Rogen and others in Hollywood who enable predatory and abusive behavior. The list includes apologizing to survivors, allyship education, and hiring survivors for future jobs. She also called out Franco’s attachment as a producer on the upcoming Pam and Tommy Hulu miniseries. Franco was once attached to the project years ago, but had no part in the current incarnation of the series. His name has since been removed from the show’s IMDb page.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Charlyne Yi (@charlyne_yi)

When asked if his distancing from Franco was painful, Rogen said, “Yeah. But not as painful and difficult as it is for a lot of other people involved. I have no pity for myself in this situation.” While it’s disappointing that it took this long for Rogen to change his mind and speak about the subject publicly, it’s commendable that he’s growing and evolving as a result.

(via The Sunday Times, image: Columbia Pictures)

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Author
Chelsea Steiner
Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.