Actor James Franco found himself in a rather awkward situation when screenshots of an alleged social media interaction in which Franco attempted to meet up with a 17-year-old girl went viral earlier this week. On Friday, Franco, 35, admitted on “Live! With Kelly and Michael” that he did in fact participate in the alleged conversation and he felt “embarrassed.”
“I’m just a model of how social media is tricky,” Franco said. “It’s a way people meet each other today, but what I’ve learned, I guess just ’cause I’m new to it, it’s like, you don’t know who’s on the other end. You meet somebody in person, you get a feel for them, but you don’t know who you’re talking to … so I used bad judgment and I learned my lesson.”
Apparently, the Scottish girl, Lucy Clode, was visiting New York City for her birthday. She first crossed paths with Franco while he was signing autographs outside Broadway’s Longacre Theatre, where he is preforming “Of Mice and Men.” They started chatting via Instagram, and the conversation moved to texting. The girl’s social media account has since been deleted.
Adding an extra level of creepy, screenshots of their conversation show that even after Clode told Franco that she was 17, he still pursued meeting up with her, asking: “You’re single? What’s the hotel? Should I rent a room?”
As the Independent, Jezebel, the Los Angeles Times and many others noted, the timing is a bit ‘spicious, given the fact the trailer was released for Franco’s upcoming movie “Palo Alto” just days before the incident. In the movie, a soccer coach has an affair with an underage high school student (played by Emma Roberts.) Just a coincidence that the situations are similar? Maybe—but since I’m a skeptic, I can totally buy that this was a hoax created to generate publicity. Regardless, many of the articles I’ve read covering the story have either linked to the “Palo Alto” trailer or at least mentioned it. So intentional or not, this event does seem to have raised a lot of publicity for the movie.
However, if this was a stunt, the teenager’s grandmother wasn’t in on the conspiracy.
“I think he ought to get a slap on the wrist and I know my son, Lucy’s dad, wouldn’t be afraid to give it to him,” the 84-year old Beryl Sussex said to the Daily Mail. “It shows how little these famous actors know about normal people and how to behave. They’re out of touch with reality.”
What do you think—was this a publicity stunt, or was Franco just being a creep?