Our clients, Sarah Tither-Kaplan and Toni Gaal, filed a class action in California State Court on behalf of themselves and all other similarly situated “students” of and female actors working for Defendants James Franco (“Franco”); Vince Jolivette (“Jolivette”); Jay Davis (“Davis”); RabbitBandini Productions; RabbitBandini Productions, LLC; RabbitBandini Films, LLC; Dark Rabbit Productions, LLC; and RabbitBandini Productions Studio 4, LLC (“Studio 4”).
The lawsuit seeks to establish two classes of victims of Defendants:
- All female student actors enrolled in Studio 4 who expressed an interest in Studio 4’s Master Classes and who subsequently either participated in or did not participate in these Master Classes. [Sexual Exploitation Class]; and
- All students who enrolled in and paid tuition to Studio 4. [Fraud Class].
While James Franco touted that one of the things that made Studio 4 different from other acting schools was its ability to funnel promising talent into his projects, the reality was that he was looking to create a pipeline of young women who would be subjected to his personal and professional sexual exploitation in the name of education.
Plaintiffs bring this action because Defendants established what was held out as a legitimate acting and film school that would teach students the Meisner method as practiced by Franco while giving them the ability to audition and be hired as talent for Franco’s production company, RabbitBandini Productions, LLC.
Defendants failed to fulfill their promises and representations to their students, instead establishing a scheme of recruiting young, inexperienced women into their school to exploit professionally and sexually. For these women, employment opportunities increased when they agreed to overt sexual acts, nudity and performing in gratuitous sex scenes. Women were encouraged to engage in nudity and sex scenes even during auditions which veers from industry norms. When women questioned the process or refused to engage in such activity, they were denied advancement in the school or terminated from productions.
Defendants filmed these auditions and explicit scenes while failing to educate students as to their rights to nudity riders and protections on set. Often times these explicit auditions and scenes were filmed in front of other students, producers and production staff. Student actors were required to sign over their rights to this explicit footage which was often uploaded to public sites and is still maintained by Defendants.
And while men and women participated in the Studio 4 program, the majority of actual roles in legitimate productions typically went to non-students or young, attractive women who acquiesced to the extreme requests of Defendants.
If you were a student at Studio 4 film school or have any information that may assist in the investigation, please contact the firm using the contact form provided or by calling 1-866-441-2873.
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