Though he didn't comment on the theories that the whole thing was a publicity stunt to promote his upcoming film Palo Alto, James Franco confirmed on Live! With Kelly and Michael this morning that he did indeed chat up a 17-year-old Scottish tourist on Instagram and attempt to hit on her. Yikes, James.
"I was feeling awkward -- I didn't want to come on the show and just feel awkward," Franco said on the show, according to The Hollywood Reporter. "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." Then, he joked to host Kelly Ripa, "I promise I won't reveal our text messages."
The messages, if you haven't seen them by now, mostly consisted of Franco asking 17-year-old Lucy Clode if he could meet up with her at her hotel, how old she is (she tells him immediately that she is not 18), and if she has a boyfriend. Check some out below:
After Clode posted the screencaps of their conversation online, theories immediately emerged that Franco had leaked them himself in an effort to promote his new Gia Coppola-directed film Palo Alto, in which he portrays an older soccer coach who has an affair with a teen student, portrayed by Emma Roberts. Considering Franco himself wrote the stories that the film is based off of, the theory would make sense—it's exactly the type of trolling/publicity stunt that Franco would be willing to pull off.
However, if it wasn't a publicity stunt, then this "apology" is really just stale—no matter how you spin the situation (and no, citing age of consent laws in the state of New York is not a viable argument), if it wasn't a stunt to promote Palo Alto, then Franco was still using his power and fame to knowingly try and seduce a teenager into having a one night stand with him despite the fact that he is twice as old as she is. And it definitely doesn't make up for the fact that, after the screencaps were leaked, Clode was completely ethered on her now-deleted Instagram, and called a "whore," and a "shady jealous bitch" for having the guts to publicly shame someone who was acting sleazy.
What do you think of Franco's apology? As always, sound off in the comments.
[via The Hollywood Reporter]