HBO 'felt comfortable' working with James Franco despite sexual misconduct claims, exec says

HBO President of Programming Casey Bloys said the network is “comfortable moving forward” with their relationship with James Franco despite numerous allegations of sexual misconduct against the star that caused backlash.

Franco stars in HBO’s “The Deuce” and Bloys said the network carefully evaluated the claims against the star before deciding to press on with the second season of the show.

“Anytime something comes up on a show or with somebody we’re in business with -- Russell Simmons we cut his overall deal; Mark Halperin, we had a deal to [turn] his book into a movie and we cut that,” Bloys told reporters at the Television Critics Associations’ Summer Press Tour on Monday.

"When the Franco issue came up, we talked internally,” Bloys revealed.

The exec said the network read the detailed Los Angeles Times expose about the star’s alleged behavior and spoke extensively with the cast and crew of “The Deuce.” In the January Los Angeles Times piece, five women accused Franco of “sexually exploitative behavior." One woman claimed the star exposed himself to her and forced her to perform oral sex on him, while another two women alleged he tried to pressure them to take off their tops during a shoot and became angry when they refused.

Franco has denied the allegations.

In the end Bloys said the accusations did not impact their plans for “The Deuce.”

“We all felt comfortable moving forward with the second season,” he said.

The second season of “The Deuce” will hit HBO on Sept. 9.

Franco made headlines following the Golden Globes in January when he took home an award for “The Disaster Artist,” leading “Breakfast Club” Ally Sheedy to post statements on Twitter that implied he had been inappropriate with her.

Franco said at the time he had “no idea what he did to Ally Sheedy” to cause the backlash.

He told Seth Meyers shortly after the Globes: “Look, in my life I pride myself on taking responsibility for things that I have done. I have to do that to maintain my well-being. The things that I heard that were on Twitter are not accurate. 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.”

On Tuesday, Franco, 40, made a rare red carpet appearance with his girlfriend Isabel Pakzad, 25.

NEW YORK, NY - JULY 23:  James Franco and  Isabel Pakzad attend the opening night of "Straight White Men" at Hayes Theater on July 23, 2018 in New York City.  (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)

 (Getty Images)