Z on TV Critic David Zurawik writes about the business and culture of TV

David Simon says no complaints about James Franco in connection with 'The Deuce'

Echoing what HBO told The Baltimore Sun on Wednesday, David Simon, co-creator and executive producer of “The Deuce,” said there were no complaints about James Franco in connection with that series.

Allegations of sexual misconduct in Franco’s past began surfacing after he won a Golden Globe Award Sunday night for his performance in “The Disaster Artist.” On Thursday, the Los Angeles Times published an article in which five women accused him of inappropriate or sexually exploitative behavior.

"I am still reading it the same as everyone else, trying to discern what is or isn't there,” Simon said in a statement sent to the Sun by HBO on Thursday. “Personally, I can only speak knowledgeably to ‘The Deuce.’ I've checked with all my fellow producers and other personnel. We have no complainant or complaint or any awareness of any incident of concern involving Mr. Franco. Nor has HBO been approached with any complaint. In our experience, he was entirely professional as an actor, director and producer.”

In addition to starring, Franco also directed and served as an executive producer on the HBO series about the porn industry in New York in 1970s. He has has denied the allegations made against him.

“The things that I heard that were on Twitter are not accurate,” Franco said Tuesday on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert.” “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.”

The statement from Simon, a former Baltimore Sun reporter, echoes what HBO said Wednesday about Franco’s role with “The Deuce.”

“We have verified that no complaints about Mr. Franco have come in on ‘The Deuce’ production,” HBO said in a statement emailed to the Sun in response to questions about Franco. “We are monitoring the other stories and are awaiting any further details.”

david.zurawik@baltsun.com

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