Screen Actors Guild Awards: James Franco attends, Aziz Ansari skips amid scandals
We asked actors on the red carpet of the 24th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards how they got their SAG card and about awkward first jobs and auditions.
Actors James Franco and Aziz Ansari, who have both been under fire for alleged sexual misconduct, decided to stay out of the spotlight during the Screen Actors Guild Awards Sunday.
Franco, who was nominated for best actor in a movie for The Disaster Artist, skipped the red carpet but attended the awards ceremony, USA TODAY confirmed.
Accusations against Franco made headlines after the Los Angeles Times published a report on Jan. 11 in which five women accused him of sexually exploitative behavior. The accusers include four former students, and one who said he was her mentor.
Franco's attorney, Michael Plonsker, disputed the women's claims in statements to the Times. While appearing on Late Night With Seth Meyers and the Late Show With Stephen Colbert the same week, Franco called the claims "not accurate."
Although Ashley Judd, a vocal supporter of the #MeToo movement, praised Franco for being accountable for his actions in his responses to the allegations, he was met with backlash following the Golden Globes for wearing a Time's Up pin to the event, which signals support for the new initiative devoted to addressing sexual harassment in the workplace and promoting gender equality.
At the Women's March in Los Angeles Saturday, he was called out by Scarlett Johansson, an original member and donor of the organization, for wearing the pin.
“How could a person publicly stand by an organization that helps to provide support for victims of sexual assault while privately preying on people who have no power?” she said at the event, referring to Franco.
Amidst his sexual misconduct scandal, Franco decided to skip the Critics' Choice Awards earlier this month, though he won the award for best actor.
Ansari issued a statement, sent to USA TODAY via his representative Jodi Gottlieb, saying he reached out to the woman "after taking time to process" her accusations.
He added that he "took her words to heart" and continues "to support the movement that is happening in our culture. It is necessary and long overdue."