Hello everyone and welcome back to Common Culture. Today I want to talk about this James Franco thing. I’m calling it a “thing” because I don’t really know what else to call it.
If you haven’t heard, here’s the lowdown: James Franco met a seventeen-year-old girl from Scotland named Lucy Clode after a performance of his Broadway play, Of Mice and Men, in New York; after she tagged him in a video from the performance, they began to communicate on Instagram. This moved to some flirtatious text messaging, where Franco tried to meet up with Lucy. She eventually declined his requests and then put the evidence online.
When I Googled the situation, I saw a lot of stuff I did not like. Mostly things like “Female Fan Puts Franco on Blast! Not cool!” or “Young Girl Desperate for Fame Flirts with James Franco for Attention!” One of the articles I read asks why she even bothered to flirt with him at all? Obviously she is looking for her fifteen seconds of stardom, stupid girl!
And I am here to say – this is ridiculousness. Another absurd circumstance of victim-blaming in which a teenager is called names for not actually doing anything at all with a grown man who happens to be James Franco.
All of these articles make it sound like Lucy is desperate to get her name into magazines and so she threw James Franco under the bus! Firstly, James Franco deserved to get thrown under the bus for this one. And it’s not even that she threw him under it, it’s that he threw himself under it and then let her take pictures. He is a very prominent 35-year-old man. You don’t go around asking teenagers to hook-up with you through Instagram! You just don’t! You’d think that’s common sense. When asked about the situation, Franco laughed it off and claimed he’s old and doesn’t understand social media; when a meme about how Franco is into teenage girls appeared, he just responded with “I am not!” This is weak. You are weak, James Franco. There is some sort of belief among celebrities that they can do whatever they want and laugh it off, but this should not be one of those situations. Thankfully, during his appearance on Live with Kelly and Michael, James apologized and admitted he used bad judgment. On the path to redemption, buddy.
Secondly, I don’t know about you guys, but if James Franco tried to hook up with me, I would probably want to tell someone. This is not a fifteen seconds of fame situation. This is a James-Franco-wants-to-hook-up-with-me situation, and that definitely warrants the right to tell someone – first and foremost because you interacted with a celebrity, which is cool, but secondly, because he is trying to do something uncool, and that is also worth mentioning.
So no, I don’t think that the derogatory articles about Lucy Clode are fair. Victim-blaming is wrong always, and calling out a seventeen-year-old for making the right decision to not hook-up with a grown man is not the proper way to respond. I think she was right to come forward with what happened because that is something people should know about the man they are worshiping. Not all celebrities are angels, and it seems James Franco is just another to reveal some weird inner part of their personality we never needed, or wanted, to know.