James Franco addresses new sexual assault allegations on 'The Late Show'
After the Golden Globes awards show on Sunday night, almost everybody was talking about the same thing: Time's Up. As a solidarity movement set up by women who are against sexual assault and inequality in the workplace, the Time's Up initiative aims to eradicate the problems that have recently come to light in Hollywood. Many stars chose to wear black in support of the movement, and others sported Time's Up pin badges.
James Franco was just one celebrity who wore a pin that night - but many people were unimpressed with his decision to do so. In fact, rather than supporting Franco's endorsement of Time's Up, many people took to Twitter in order to accuse him of participating in the kinds of activities that the initiative is aiming to put a stop to.
One user in particular, Violet Paley, accused the Disaster Artist star of exposing himself to her, as well as inviting at least two underage girls to his hotel room - something for which he already came under fire in 2014.
Rather than shy away from the accusations, though, Franco addressed them head-on in an interview with Stephen Colbert on The Late Show. He was a little vague on the matter, but at one time did imply that he may have been in the wrong on some occasions in the past.
Colbert was the one to bring up the subject, saying: "I want to ask you about some criticism that you got on Golden Globes night. Because you were wearing a Time’s Up pin in support of the Time’s Up movement ... You got criticized for wearing that. Do you know why? And what—do you have a response?"
Franco responded first of all by saying, "I wore it because I do support it", then went on to elaborate on his advocacy for "50-50 in 2020, which just means, you know, people that are underrepresented, women, people of color, people in the LGBT community get positions, leadership positions, that they fill all positions that they’ve been deprived of."
After all that, however, he added: "There were some things on Twitter."
"In my life, I pride myself on taking responsibility for the things that I’ve done. I have to do that to maintain my well-being. I do it whenever I know that there’s something wrong or needs to be changed. I make it a point to do it," said the 39-year-old star.
However, he did not address any of the claims directly, and Colbert seemed reluctant to bring up any of the specific accusations.
"Do you have any idea of what the answer might be to come to some sense of what the truth is, so there can be some sort of reconciliation between people who clearly have different views of things?" asked the TV host.
"I really don’t have the answers, and I think the point of this whole thing is we listen," said Franco.
This may seem all well and good, and some people may look at this interview and think, "well, at least he isn't denying anything". However, despite Paley saying she had been directly contacted by Franco, the actor claimed, "The things that I heard that were on Twitter are not accurate".
But he did also say, "if there’s restitution to be made, I will make it. So if I’ve done something wrong, I will fix it. I have to. I mean, I think that’s how that, that works, I don’t know what else, I don’t know what else to do".
Franco might have come close to holding his hands up and admitting his wrongdoings, but a lot of what he said was deflection. If he had straight-up admitted to being sexually inappropriate with young women and assured everyone he was willing to make reparations, perhaps he would be forgiven.
However, brushing matters under the rug and wearing a Time's Up pin doesn't exonerate anyone from their mistakes. Franco - and all the others who have wrongfully abused their positions of power - need to own up to their mistakes at some point. Otherwise, people will continue to assume they can get away with it.