Maggie Gyllenhaal revealed Tuesday how she handled sexual misconduct allegations against her co-star James Franco while filming “The Deuce” — and why she felt it was important to continue the HBO series.
Speaking on SiriusXM’s “Sway in the Morning,” Gyllenhaal said she took the claims against Franco seriously and felt it was important to tackle the issue head-on as a producer of the series.
“I felt it was my responsibility to do the opposite of ignore it,” Gyllenhaal told host Sway Calloway. “At the time that the accusations against James came out in the LA Times, we read them all, we took them very seriously. We spoke to every woman on the crew and in the cast to find out if they felt respected and what their experience of working with James was and everyone said that they had been totally respected by him.”
She added that she wanted to continue with the show because of the topics it addressed, including misogyny and inequality.
“Another thing that was really important was our show is about, like I said, it’s about misogyny,” Gyllenhaal said. “It’s about transactional sex. It’s about inequality in the entertainment business. You couldn’t be more at the center of that conversation than ‘The Deuce.’
“To me, I thought I want to keep telling this story, I want to keep playing Candy and going deep into, like, really what it’s like from a woman’s perspective to be dealing with all the stuff that is on everybody’s minds right now.”
Gyllenhaal said it wouldn’t have felt right to cancel the show, which focuses on New York City’s sex trade industry in the early 1970s.
“I feel like it would’ve been the wrong consequence to those accusations to shut our show down,” Gyllenhaal said. “It would’ve been, like, the opposite of the right thing to do. And yet I believe that there should be consequences for disrespecting or assaulting women. Of course I do.”
In a January Los Angeles Times report, five women accused Franco of inappropriate and sexually exploitive behavior. The actor denied the allegations.
Busy Philipps also wrote in her upcoming memoir, “This Will Only Hurt a Little,” that Franco was a “f—ing bully” on the set of “Freaks and Geeks” and one time pushed her to the ground. She said he apologized for the incident the next day.
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