"I’m absolutely proud that we continued to do the work, that James did it with us, and that we executed it at the level that we did," The Deuce co-creator said in an often contentious interview with Rolling Stone's Alan Sepinwall. Simon explained that there is a "fundamental distinction" between the acting students accusing Franco of sexual misconduct in a January 2018 Los Angeles Times article, which recently prompted a lawsuit, and other more prominent #MeToo cases. "The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone," said Simon. "There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical." Simon added: "I’m not demeaning what was brought to the fore. They do involve meaningful issues about how nudity and sex is handled on set, and the care and the caution with which you proceed, in terms of having people proceeding in a professional way, and doing so with the utmost voluntariness. I do think it’s fair to critique James, as I think James has critiqued himself, on the notion of being a little bit flippant or unaware of the power of being James Franco. And that when people say 'yes,' they might not be saying yes if it was anyone but James Franco — that young actors and actresses could get into situations where they would say “yes” and have fundamental regrets. And maybe if you aren’t an A-list actor, there’s a higher standard of restraint and caution in terms of how you proceed. But the one thing that was lacking in all of this was, he clearly wasn’t trying to do any of this to try to get with anybody — at all. There wasn’t even the allegation that he asked anybody out. None of the cases had that."