James Franco has been one of the more famous actors to get hit by #MeToo allegations. The exact nature of what he is accused of can be found in a variety of places, but needless to say, the things that Franco is alleged to have done are pretty horrible, and just recently, he had yet another allegation thrown at him from “Freaks and Geeks” co-star Busy Phillips. That being said, when HBO was deciding to renew “The Deuce” for a season 2 (and eventually season 3), many expected there to be a change, with either the show being shut down for good or Franco’s character somehow being written off. As we now know, neither of those things happened and the second season continued as planned, with a third and final season coming soon.
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Speaking about the issue now is his co-star (and ‘Deuce’ producer) Maggie Gyllenhaal. And while she doesn’t necessarily make a judgment on what Franco has been accused of, including his most recent allegations from actress Phillips who claims he physically abused her on the set of “Freaks and Geeks,” Gyllenhaal does explain why she thinks that continuing “The Deuce” was ultimately the right choice and what she did as a producer and cast member to make sure the set was a comfortable one for everyone involved.
The actress appeared on SiriusXM’s “Sway’s Universe,” Gyllenhaal explained, “We, 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.”
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She continues by explaining that even though the series continued and HBO stood by Franco, allegations of this nature shouldn’t be minimized. “I feel like it would’ve been the wrong consequence to those accusations to shut our show down. 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,” she said.
One can’t help but notice that Franco was gone from most of the promotional materials and interview opportunities for season 2 of “The Deuce,” so it’s clear that HBO (and perhaps the actor himself) made a conscious effort to divorce the show from the controversy. We’ll see if his history continues to follow him when the next season premieres.
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But as for Gyllenhaal, she is perfectly fine working with Franco and thinks that HBO did the best possible thing. And it’s up to the viewers to decide if the show benefits.