Yesterday James Franco was caught trying to pick up a seventeen-year-old girl via Instagram. When this 35-year-old dude was caught trying to have sex with a teenager named Lucy the internet immediately concocted a theory that it was just a viral marketing scheme for Franco’s new movie Palo Alto where he plays a high school coach who is sleeping with a teenager. I guess we know art imitates life for real now. James went on Live With Kelly and Michael and apologized.
“I was feeling awkward — I didn’t want to come on the show and just feel awkward. I’m embarrassed, and I guess I’m just a model of how social media is tricky. It’s way that people meet each other today, but what I’ve learned — I guess because I’m new to it — is you don’t know who’s on the other end. You get a feel for them, you don’t know who you’re talking to. I used bad judgment and I learned my lesson.Unfortunately, in my position — I mean, I have a very good life, but not only do I have to the embarrassing kind of rituals of meeting someone, but if I do that, then it gets published for the world. So now, it’s double embarrassing.”
I had a feeling this Palo Alto theory wasn’t the case and I have to admit I was incredibly annoyed by this theory because it such a huge mental leap that only serves to rationalize the behavior of irresponsible adult males. Honestly, I don’t think of him any differently than I did before, I am more annoyed with the internet’s immediate reaction of disbelief when it was so obviously true. James Franco is really just another thirsty dude of Instagram. When a woman has a faux paux there is literally only backlash. Could you imagine Miley Cyrus having any kind of leeway when she does something mildly embarrassing? Could you imagine the masses coming up with theories to justify her behavior because they simply can’t imagine that someone they like does bad things sometimes?
James Franco pursues a shady sexscapade and it just “cannot be real.” Woody Allen is accused of molestation, marries his young step daughter and generally engages in inappropriate relationships but that simply “cannot be true.” Roman Polanski was actually convicted of rape but still it simply “cannot be true.” No, what James Franco tried to do (and we can only assume it’s not the first time he has tried to or slept with a 17-year-old) isn’t on the level of sexual assault or rape. Seventeen is the legal age of consent in New York City. But it’s questionable behavior. It’s nothing that should ruin his career. It’s nothing he should go to jail for. It’s something he should maybe get looked at sideways for.
Still, it’s amazing to me that because people want to believe so hard that James Franco is cool that they think he is above classic celebrity douche behavior—using fame to sleep with young, attractive women. People want to believe that cool dudes are cool so bad that they would ignore all evidence to the contrary.