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Dark cloud over James Franco after actress Ally Sheedy's tweets

by Daniel Arkin /  / Updated 

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James Franco was riding high on Sunday night, scoring a Golden Globe for his acclaimed turn in "The Disaster Artist," a behind-the-scenes comedy he also directed. It was a career peak for Franco, who took to the stage at the Beverly Hilton wearing a pin honoring the fight against sexual misconduct.

But not everyone was celebrating.

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Ally Sheedy, co-star of "The Breakfast Club," fired off a series of cryptic tweets that evening — since deleted — in which she appeared to take aim at Franco, who stars in "The Disaster Artist" as eccentric cult-movie hero Tommy Wiseau.

"James Franco just won," Sheedy tweeted, per screenshots taken by several media outlets. "Please never ever ask me why I left the film/tv business." (Franco directed Sheedy in a 2014 off-Broadway production of "The Long Shrift.")

Related: The deafening silence on harassment among men at the Golden Globes

It was not clear exactly what Sheedy meant in her posts. But they nonetheless went viral, inspiring days of social media chatter and reviving rumors of alleged sexual misconduct and inappropriate behavior.

Amid the furor, The New York Times canceled an event at which Franco and his younger brother, Dave, were slated to promote "The Disaster Artist." And the accusations could jeopardize the elder Franco's path to an Oscar nomination. (He was previously nominated for his performance in "127 Hours.")

Sarah Tither-Kaplan, a filmmaker and actress, claimed in a tweet that Franco told her the "full nudity" he purportedly asked her to do for two of his movies was not exploitative because she had signed a contract.

Violet Paley, another actress, alleged in a tweet that Franco once pushed her head toward his "exposed penis." In a subsequent tweet, Paley claimed Franco offered her and "a few other girls" an apology — which Paley said she does not accept.

Tither-Kaplan and Paley were among five women who spoke to the Los Angeles Times about behavior from Franco that they found inappropriate or sexually exploitative.

Franco, 39, denied accusations of sexual impropriety in an awkward appearance Tuesday evening on "The Late Show" on CBS.

Related: James Franco awkwardly addresses claims on Colbert’s ‘Late Show’

"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," Franco told host Stephen Colbert.

 James Franco accepting a Golden Globe "The Disaster Artist" on Jan. 7, 2018. Paul Drinkwater / NBC via Reuters

The renewed scrutiny on Franco after the Globes comes four years after he apparently sent a series of text messages, posted on the image-sharing website Imgur, in which he seemed to try to seduce a 17-year-old Scottish girl he had recently met outside a Broadway theater in New York.

In an April 2014 appearance on "Live! With Kelly and Michael," Franco acknowledged the text message exchange:

"I'm embarrassed, and I guess I'm just a model of how social media is tricky," he said at the time. "It's a way people meet each other today, but what I've learned — I guess because I'm new to it — is you don't know who's on the other end. I used bad judgement, and I learned my lesson."

Later that month, in a radio interview with Howard Stern, Franco again addressed the episode, noting that the age of consent in New York is 17.

"They make it out like I'm pursuing young women," Franco told Stern. "I'm not going to high schools looking for dates."

In the same interview, Stern said some people thought the incident was "promotion" for "Palo Alto," a 2014 independent film in which Franco plays a high school soccer teacher who has sex with a student, played by Emma Roberts. (The film was adapted from a short story collection written by Franco.)

In his interview with Colbert on Tuesday night, Franco vowed to make amends for his alleged conduct. "If there's restitution to be made, I will make it," Franco said. "I'm here to listen and learn and change my perspective where it's off."

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