The 39-year-old actor, speaking with The Sunday Times, distanced himself from his longtime friend and collaborator when asked about the validity of the charges.
‘What I can say is that I despise abuse and harassment and I would never cover or conceal the actions of someone doing it, or knowingly put someone in a situation where they were around someone like that,’ Rogen said, adding that it was ‘not a coincidence’ he hasn’t worked with Franco in recent years, as he faced sexual misconduct accusations in 2014 and again in 2018.
He added, ‘However, I do look back at a joke I made on Saturday Night Live in 2014 and I very much regret making that joke. It was a terrible joke, honestly.’
The Vancouver native’s joke was in reference to accusations a 17-year-old girl made against Franco that he had reached out to her on Instagram to meet up.
Rogen said in the monologue: ‘I decided to prank James Franco. I posed as a girl on Instagram, told him I was way young. He seemed unfazed. I have a date to meet him at the Ace Hotel.’
In the interview with the newspaper Sunday, Rogen said his stance has shifted on continuing to collaborate with Franco.
‘I also look back to that interview in 2018 where I comment that I would keep working with James, and the truth is that I have not and I do not plan to right now,’ he said. ‘I don’t know if I can define that [our friendship] right now during this interview.
‘I can say it, um, you know, it has changed many things in our relationship and our dynamic.’
Rogen said that he was filled with regret but acknowledged his situation was ‘not as painful and difficult as it is for a lot of other people involved,’ adding, ‘I have no pity for myself in this situation.’
Among the projects Rogen and Franco worked together on included the NBC Cult classic Freaks and Geeks and films such as Pineapple Express, This Is the End, The Disaster Artist, and The Interview.
Franco earlier this year settled a suit with two women who were students of his former acting school Studio 4, Sarah Tither-Kaplan and Toni Gaal, who accused him of misconduct in their interactions.
Franco said of the allegations on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert in 2018: ‘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. It’s a good thing and I support it.’