PALO ALTO, Calif. (KTVU) - Palo Alto High School has covered up a mural created by James Franco, one of their most famous alumni. Some are questioning the timing as the move follows recent allegations of sexual misconduct against Franco made by five women that Franco denied.
The district told KTVU that, while they appreciated the two murals and artwork donations from Franco, they've always intended to have them returned or painted over. The school made the decision to cover the depiction of a high school football game in brown paint last week.
“I think a lot of people are kind of confused as to why it came down,” said Abby Ramsey, student at Palo Alto High School. “He's been accused of something, but it's nothing official. It's kind of rumors right now.”
And the district is making no mention of the sexual misconduct allegations. Interim Superintendent Karen Hendricks says the artwork and murals that Franco has donated in the past were intended to be temporary.
"District staff recently considered the best interests of our students in the light of our educational mission, and decided to remove and return the remaining artwork," said Hendricks in a statement.
Another mural by Franco was removed in 2016 and artwork in the library was taken down during a summer renovation last year.
The district says student groups at the high school are working on a concept for a new mural that will celebrate diversity on campus.
We've also learned remaining artwork by Franco that is displayed in the media arts center will be transitioned out to make room for new pieces.
“I just heard that parents were complaining because of the accusations he was getting,” said Peyton Wolf, student at Palo Alto High School.