HBO’s The Deuce, a gritty drama exploring the seedy underbelly of Times Square in the 1970s, is currently in the middle of its second season. While the show has received critical acclaim for its hard-hitting depictions of sex, sex workers, and the porn industry, it’s also come under fire due to the continued involvement of star James Franco, who stands accused of sexual assault or misconduct by five different women (Franco has denied the allegations). One doesn’t have to look far to find op-eds on the subject, such as Jude Dry’s recent article on IndieWire, which goes so far as to suggest that Franco’s very presence ruins an otherwise great show.
Franco’s co-star Maggie Gyllenhaal, who is also a producer on The Deuce, recently weighed in on the calls to shut down the show over Franco’s misconduct allegations, arguing that this would be “the opposite of the right thing to do.”
Speaking with SiriusXM radio host Sway Calloway Tuesday, Gyllenhaal said that the allegations against Franco earlier this year prompted her to speak with The Deuce’s other female cast and crew about their experiences with the actor (Franco is also an executive producer).
“We, at the time that the accusations against James came out in the LA Times, we read them all, we took them very seriously,” Gyllenhaal said. “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.”
Gyllenhaal elaborated, explaining her own reasons for wanting to continue the show. “To me, I thought I want to keep telling this story. I want to keep playing Candy and going deep into, like, really what it’s like from a woman’s perspective to be dealing with all the stuff that is on everybody’s minds right now.
“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.”James Franco and Busy Philipps in Freaks and Geeks (1999)