SAN FRANCISCO — James Franco’s former high school has taken down a mural he painted and plans to remove other art donated by the celebrity alumnus who is facing allegations of sexual misconduct in Hollywood.
Removing the artwork from Palo Alto High School is “in the best interests of our students in light of our educational mission,” Superintendent Karen Hendricks said Thursday in a statement.
The statement did not mention the scandal surrounding Franco, which the school’s newspaper reported was the reason the artwork was removed.
Franco graduated from Palo Alto High School in 1996 and his artwork has been featured prominently there.
Campus newspaper “The Paly Voice” quoted Principal Kim Diorio in a story earlier this week saying she had struggled with how to handle Franco’s artistic contributions since allegations surfaced against him last month.
“These are still allegations,” Diorio was quoted as saying. “He’s denied those allegations and hasn’t been charged with a crime.”
Nonetheless, Diorio said: “I made the decision we’ll take down the mural.”
Attempts to speak with Diorio and other district officials were unsuccessful. Diorio referred calls to the superintendent’s office which did not return several messages Thursday.
The school newspaper said Franco has actively contributed to campus arts programs since graduating. He has returned to give interviews to student publications, taught a film workshop and in 2014 loaned several paintings to the school, the newspaper said.
The artwork was never meant to be a permanent fixture, the superintendent said in her statement.
“James Franco donated multiple pieces of artwork and two murals to the Palo Alto High School campus,” the statement said. One mural was removed in 2016.
“The second mural was taken down last week,” the statement said, and remaining Franco artwork is “now being transitioned” off campus.
Five women accused Franco of sexual misconduct last month.
The actor-director responded to the allegations on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” saying if he’s done something wrong he will fix it.
This story has been corrected to reflect the accurate spelling of Principal Kim Diorio’s last name.