James Franco Digitally Deleted From Vanity Fair's Hollywood Issue After Sexual Misconduct Allegations

Vanity Fair digitally removed James Franco from its Hollywood issue cover photo, which debuted Thursday, after editors learned of the actor's sexual harassment allegations.

The magazine confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter that the 39-year-old star of The Disaster Artist sat for the photoshoot, done by famed photographer Annie Leibovitz, and conducted an interview for the piece titled "12 Extraordinary Stars, One Momentous Year." He was removed from the cover photo after five women accused him of sexual misconduct in a Los Angeles Times report published January 11.

"We made a decision not to include James Franco on the Hollywood cover once we learned of the misconduct allegations against him," a Vanity Fair spokesperson said.

Before the magazine confirmed the edit, readers noticed digital manipulation errors on the photos of the 12 actors who made a splash in 2017. In one image Reese Witherspoon (Big Little Lies) appeared to have three legs, while Oprah Winfrey seemed to have a third hand in another published photo from the shoot. (The magazine insists Witherspoon's supposed third leg is actually the lining of her dress but acknowledges Winfrey's extra hand as a mistake.)

It was only weeks ago that Franco was still a front-runner for an Oscar nomination. His portrayal of the eccentric director Tommy Wiseau earned him a Golden Globe, a Critics Choice award and a Screen Actors Guild nomination.

Hours after his acceptance speech at the Globes, in January, he was accused of sexual misconduct on Twitter. Franco addressed the rumors three days later, on Late Night With Seth Meyers, stating that he felt the accusations were "not accurate." That evening, the Los Angeles Times presented on-the-record accusations from five women who claimed Franco abused his power as an acting teacher to sexually exploit aspiring actresses.  

Two weeks later, when the academy announced its 2018 Oscar nominations, Franco's name was nowhere to be found.

the-disaster-artist-TDA-02424_rgb James Franco as Tommy Wiseau in "The Disaster Artist" (2017). A24

Others in Hollywood denounced him, including Scarlett Johansson, who questioned Franco's participation in the Time's Up movement. “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 in a speech at the Women's March on Saturday. 

Franco's lawyer denied the allegations. But since the report, the actor has laid low. He did not attend the Critics' Choice Awards, though he ended up winning. Last week, however, he did attend the SAG Awards

Franco has yet to lose any jobs over the allegations—as was the case with Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey and others in Hollywood. Still, erasure from a magazine cover certainly isn't a good sign for any actor's career.