LOS ANGELES (CBSLA/AP) – In the wake of multiple sexual harassment allegations, Vanity Fair Thursday admitted that it scrubbed actor James Franco from a star-studded cover photo for its annual Hollywood issue.
In a statement to the Hollywood Reporter, a spokesperson said that the magazine “made a decision not to include James Franco on the Hollywood cover once we learned of the misconduct allegations against him.”
The cover shot taken by famed photographer Annie Leibovitz includes the likes of Oprah Winfrey, Robert De Niro, Harrison Ford, Tom Hanks, Gal Gadot and Reese Witherspoon.
It is titled: “The 2018 Vanity Fair Hollywood Portfolio: 12 Extraordinary Stars, One Momentous Year.”
Franco was initially part of the photo shoot and also conducted an interview with the magazine, the Hollywood Reporter says, before being removed.
This marks the latest setback for the actor after five women accused Franco of inappropriate behavior in a Los Angeles Times piece that was published Jan. 11. In the article, four former students and a woman who claims he served as her mentor accused him of misconduct.
Former students spoke of an unprofessional culture at Franco’s now-closed acting school Studio 4, where he taught a sex scenes class. Two women said Franco became angry shooting a strip club scene when no actresses, who were masked, would go topless.
In an interview Tuesday with “Good Morning America,” two of his accusers — Violet Paley and Sarah Tither-Kaplan — repeated accusations they’d made that Franco abused his power and behaved inappropriately.
Paley accused Franco of coercing her into performing oral sex on him. “He kind of like pushed my head down and was like, saying, ‘come on,'” she told GMA.
Tither-Kaplan, a student in his master class on sex scenes, told GMA a lot of scenes “seemed gratuitous and exploitative.” She added that Franco “created exploitative environments for non-celebrity women on his sets.”
The Times story was released just days after Franco won a Globe for best actor in a musical or comedy for his performance as Tommy Wiseau in the acclaimed “The Disaster Artist,” which portrays the making of the cult classic movie “The Room.” Franco also directed the film.
Actress Ally Sheedy tweeted during the Globes that Franco was an example of why she left the film and television business.
This week, Franco was surprisingly snubbed by the Oscars in the best actor category despite his Globes win, and a nomination from the Screen Actors Guild and numerous other awards.
“I pride myself on taking responsibility for things that I have done,” Franco told “Late Show” host Stephen Colbert in an interview a few days after the Globes. “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 any way. I think that it’s a good thing and I support it.”
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)