Media, Deception, and James Franco

(Originally posted April 4th, 2014)
Have we all had a minute to read up on this James Franco moment yet?
If you haven’t, let me fill you in.
James Franco, (beloved, attractive, actor/scholar), was seen on social media program Instagram attempting to lure a 17 year old Scottish girl to meet with him.
Franco, 36, was apparently approached by this young woman outside of his Broadway show Of Mice and Men.
Wow, what a significant play.
What a significantly creepy move that after such a powerful story of love, selfishness, and making a right or wrong choice, Franco asks the young girl to tag him in a photo that she wants to post on Instagram … where he later contacts her.
Before I am strung up by the million Franco groupies of the world, let me speak a little further.
Franco starred in a film where he plays a high school soccer coach and father that has an inappropriate affair with an underage girl. The film is called Palo Alto and very importantly centers in on how easy it is for those that are closest to your family may very well be the ones who could take advantage of them, too. More about this in a minute. But before I continue, this movie has Val Kilmer in it……. didn’t we leave him behind in the ’80s? No?
Many media outlets have been reporting about the incident, two days after the illicit messages were supposedly sent, in an almost defense mannerism. James Franco could not POSSIBLY have sent those messages! James Franco is a COLLEGE EDUCATED actor! James Franco must have been set UP! James Franco must have been doing this TO PROMOTE HIS NEW FILM WHERE HE IS A SEXUAL PREDATOR NOT THAT HE REALLY IS ONE!
Ok.
Let me explain what does not necessarily need to be explained:
The minute the media would rather defend a celebrity than to question them for something as serious as potential child sexual predatory behavior, we have failed as a media influenced society by allowing this to go on.
Do I think personally that James Franco is guilty of being a sexual predator? That’s neither here nor there. Do I think that this should be checked into? Yes. Do I think this was a stunt to promote a movie that was actually released in August of 2013? …. How does that make sense.
If we as a society would rather defend a celebrity for this behavior, especially without providing all the facts like when the actual movie was released, and in turn condemn a young woman, or man, for speaking up – we need to reevaluate.
If this was a film promotion, it was not done in order to spark a fury around making sure James Franco is safe –
It was done to see if there was fury and outrage over someone we, as beloved consumers of Franco’s movies, trusted who violated the simple promise to never, ever abuse your power and take advantage of someone young, naieve, and possibly easily swayed.
New York age of consent may be 17 but we all know how inappropriate a 36 year old and a 17 year old is. And if you want to argue that …. please, please refrain.
And if this was a stunt put on by Franco, I think maybe it could teach us a thing or two about what we deem important as a society.
Franco is a VERY well educated man. He is a poet, he is a teacher, he directs. He’s someone well known, he is very savvy with social media. He is not afraid to speak his mind. And while these are all admirable traits that make us stop and reconsider how someone could do this and make us begin to dismiss these allegations, will we do the same the next time we hear about this is our own personal towns? Will we dismiss the claims from the young because this is an adult that is well trusted? Will we dismiss pictures and text messages and private chats because there’s just no way they would take advantage of a 17 year old that we know?
If anything, Franco has shown us the slippery slope. Much like his performance in Of Mice and Men… if we let things slide, we allow our “Lenny” to continue to move forward, until it’s too late. Except our Lenny knows what he’s doing, he’s cunning, he’s trusted, and even though you might hate to believe it, he might be James Franco.
Social Media for ya.

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