Now that the various screenshots of James Franco attempting to pick up a 17-year-old via Instagram have roiled the Internet for a day, James Franco is weighing in. James Franco says he is "embarrassed." Same.
On Live With Kelly and Michael, the actor/MFA student/author/Selfie Artist cleared the air:
You know, I'm embarrassed, and I guess I'm just a model of how social media is tricky. It's a way 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.
He went on, "In my position — I mean, I have a very good life, but not only do I have to go through the embarrassing kind of rituals of meeting someone, but if I do that, then it gets published for the world. So now, it's doubly embarrassing." He did not mention the age difference between himself and the teenager he was Insta-wooing — technically, 17 is the age of consent in New York, so it wouldn't have been illegal had he arranged a hotel visit as his plan seemed to be, but it's still creepy. His sense of entitlement (2 JAMES FRANCO SELFIES = GIVE ME SEX) and his eager willingness to exploit the skewed fan-celebrity power dynamic is even creepier.
This interview probably puts an end to the Internet's new favorite theory that this whole thing was a viral marketing scheme meant to promote Palo Alto, Franco's upcoming movie in which he plays a high school soccer coach who is sleeping with a teenager. Or maybe it just complicates it a lot — maybe this is a LaBeoufian performance piece that will culminate in an insufferable New York Times op-ed about the currency of truth in a viral marketplace or whatever. Either way, I hate what's happening.