James Franco is Gross

A week ago, leaked images from James Franco’s Instagram account revealed he attempted to have sexual relations with a 17-year-old. The young woman in question has been chastised for releasing said images and Franco has painted himself as a victim of social media. Certain news outlets have pointed out the age of consent in New York (where both Franco and the young woman were residing at the time) is 17, so even if they were to have sex, everything would be perfectly legal. However, this would be ignoring the fact Franco is a 35-year-old man looking to have sex with a teenager.

The issue of age is not the only problem. Franco is a grown man in a position of power. It should have been apparent to Franco that this girl was infatuated by his status as a celebrity, and therefore manipulating said infatuation to his advantage would be predatory and exploitive.

Additionally, there was nothing flirty or cute about their exchange. The young woman appeared reluctant and uncomfortable with Franco’s advances, especially when he seemed all too eager to rent a hotel room for them. In a private text message she released, Franco told her not to tell anyone about their conversation and the young woman commented he sounded “dodgy.” It should be further noted that the young woman blatantly revealed her age, while Franco adamantly continued to pursue her.

Before Franco confirmed the incidence, he took to his twitter to write, “I HOPE PARENTS KEEP THEIR TEENS AWAY FROM ME. Thank you.” Apparently, he viewed this situation as a joking matter. Franco later deleted the tweet.

Later, Franco went on Live with Kelly and Michael and briefly discussed the issue at hand. Franco stated "I didn't want to come on the show and feel awkward. I mean, I guess, you know, I'm embarrassed, and I guess I'm just a model of, you know, how social media is tricky.” Franco essentially victimized himself and appeared to place blame upon the young woman for leaking their conversation. He did not take responsibility for his actions, nor did he address the fact there was an 18-year age difference between the young woman and himself. In fact, the way in which the audience reacted, with their nervous laughter, one would assume Franco was merely recounting an embarrassing antidote regarding, say, an awkward family dinner.

Kelly Ripa responded by saying "I think the way you came out here and handled it is perfectly acceptable. It happens to everybody.” Really, everybody? I highly doubt everybody has attempted to solicit a 17-year-old by enticing them with celebrity status.