"April is the cruelest month…"
I hear ya, Buzz.
I attended New York University from the Fall of 2009 until the Spring of 2012. This time overlapped James Franco’s attendance at the school as well. While it was initially exciting to learn yet another former/current movie star had joined the ranks of the student body, rumors quickly started to fly and Mr. Franco earned himself quite the reputation.
The first story I encountered was in my Intro to Media Studies lecture that everyone in my major had to take their first semester in the program. A friend of a friend was seated behind me chatting with some of his friends about an encounter another friend recently had with the heartthrob in question. More or less, James had gotten this girl’s number in the daylight and texted her in the darkness, in a very similar manner to what we see in “Lucy’s” texts. When this girl responded that she wanted to hang out with him, but in a manner that “wasn’t obviously a hook-up,” his response was, “Well what did you think this was?” My friend of a friend’s response to this whole scenario was, “That’s not fair! I wanna have sex with a celebrity! Or anybody…” The “anybody” part was hilarious, but I’ll get back to the celebrity part momentarily.
The next semester, I learned from one of my friends that James Franco had a whole routine worked out for picking up girls. At NYU’s Faye’s Cafe which houses Starbucks, frequented by Franco and the undergrad population alike, James would purposely stand in line behind an attractive girl. When it came his turn to pay, he would inform the pretty girl that he forgot his wallet and ask to borrow $5. Of course the girl lends it to him because he’s James Franco. Then he’d follow it up with, “Thank you so much! I’d love to take you out sometime to repay you!” And of course you give him your number because he’s James Franco. You can guess what happens next. Probably something that happens only once and then you never hear from him again.
Similar stories floated around campus and it eventually became an understanding among the non-famous student population that the role of Creep was the latest part James Franco had added to his ever-growing resume. In one of my internships senior year, I heard complaints about him via a co-worker’s friends who were in many of his film classes, mostly regarding how the NYU administration favored him without just cause and how they felt they had been short-changed in their educations due to his presence (a presence they all claimed was shallow).
I have never encountered James Franco directly and never experienced anything first-hand. I don’t have anything personally against him, and I’ve enjoyed a lot of his work. But I also never had a reason to believe anything I was hearing were lies. People talk. That’s just how it is. I have no proof that any of it is true, so feel free to call me out for fueling the gossip-machine, but this latest allegation makes everything I heard sound rather tame, no?
I guess what irks me most about the responses in Franco’s favor are the people saying this girl was crazy for not hooking up with him. “Is she retarded?! I’m 19, he can invite me over anytime! LOLLLZ” These types of responses.
Look, I get it that all of us want, on some level, to go to bed with our favorite celebrities. But imagine your favorite celeb, and then imagine every single person that has ever wanted to sleep with him or her. What if this celebrity actually did sleep with ALL those people? Does it seem like such a special or unique opportunity now? Not to mention; it’s one thing to have fans throwing themselves at a celebrity for the purpose of sex and that celebrity obliging, but for the celebrity to constantly pursue it? On the internet and in college cafes, no less? Does it not sound a tad bit sketchy?
This celebrity sense of entitlement is really what’s at the root of the problem here. I’m not even going to assign this issue to male celebrities, because I know of many female celebs who are guilty of “falling on their backs on command if they think they can get something out of it.” (A friend’s words, not mine.) Are there non-famous individuals who take on a self-entitled “I can have whomever/whatever I want” attitude? Of course, but when people say no to them, they’re not considered crazy or stupid. They’re usually considered to be the better person.
Any well-adjusted 17-year-old girl should be able to recognize that a 35-year-old male preying on her is a RED FLAG. What if he wasn’t a celebrity? Would Franco’s defenders be okay with just any guy off the street pulling a move like that? What if he were in California where this girl would still be too young to legally consent? Just because it’s a celebrity we’re talking about here, we should automatically assume he’s not a predator? I’m not saying he is, but if he weren’t famous, and a 17-year-old girl willingly went to a 35-year-old male’s hotel room, are you telling me we wouldn’t blame the victim if something bad happened to her?
James Franco’s tweeted response was to tell all the parents of teenagers to keep their children away from him. Because clearly, it’s the starstruck, possibly underage public’s responsibility to keep his advances in check. It’s not up to James Franco to monitor his own sexual activity! For every girl that says no, there’s a million more who are already on their knees and he will reap the benefits. Of course he’s not taking advantage of anyone! He’s doing us the favor, adoring public! He’s making our dreams come true! This is the life with which he’s been #blessed, and us fans should shut up and keep the dream alive. *Barf*
Was it a classy move for this girl to post her conversation with James Franco to the internet? Probably not, but she was probably just so shocked it was happening she didn’t stop to think of any moral implications. James obviously wasn’t thinking straight either. Personally, I’m a little glad the truth came out for the greater public to witness. Remember; with great power comes great responsibility. For a guy with so much talent and public affection, who was in the movie from which that quote comes, I think it’s acceptable to hold him to a higher standard.
Future life, please.
Spring Equinox in Chicago
I was there!