Like many of his peers, James Franco turned up at the Golden Globes Awards Sunday night wearing the black-and-white pin to support the evening’s Times’ Up anti-sexual harassment message.
But shortly after winning best actor for “The Disaster Artist,” the Palo Alto native’s name was lighting up Twitter — and not just because some people were annoyed that he didn’t let Tommy Wiseau, the eccentric director and inspiration behind his “Disaster Artist” performance, speak.
Actress Ally Sheedy found Franco’s presence upsetting enough that she tweeted about it. Her tweets were cryptic, and she quickly deleted them after they gained notice by Vanity Fair and other publications, but they hinted at something sinister. People wondered if she was referring to anything related to the ceremony’s theme around combatting sexual harassment and inequality in Hollywood and in other professions.
One of Sheedy’s tweets read, “James Franco just won. Please never ever ask me why I left the film/tv business.” A tweet from her earlier in the night also referenced a problem with Franco’s presence. It read, “Why is a man hosting? Why is James Franco allowed in? Said too much.”
Many users retweeted and replied to the messages, which they took to imply that the “Breakfast Club” star was accusing the 1996 Palo Alto High School graduate of some sort of sexual misconduct.
Franco in 2014 directed Sheedy in an Off-Broadway production of “The Long Shrift,” Vulture reported. But there is nothing in her tweet that indicated she was referring to that experience. The Cut and other publications reached out to the actress for comment.
Others on Twitter wondered if Sheedy’s comments referred to headlines Franco made, also in 2014, for reportedly trying to arrange a meet-up with a 17-year-old girl at a New York hotel.
Franco, 39, had tried to contact the girl, visiting New York City from Scotland, via social media after encountering her outside his Broadway production of “Of Mice and Men,” the Business Insider reported. He allegedly offered to rent a room to spend time with the “almost 18”-year-old.
After the girl went public with their online exchange, Franco appeared on “Live With Kelly & Michael” and acknowledged he had messaged her. He said that he was “embarrassed,” had “used bad judgement” and that “social media is tricky,” Fox News reported.
He also posted a semi-joking tweet, saying he hoped that parents would “keep their teens away from me,” the Business Insider said. That same year he also shared a nearly nude image on Instagram that showed him posing with his underwear pulled low and his hand in the waistband.
But in the wake of the nation’s post-Harvey Weinstein reckoning with sexual harassment in Hollywood — and the #MeToo theme of Sunday night’s Golden Globes — many women Sunday on Twitter cried foul over Franco’s “bad judgement” excuse over the incident with the teen girl, as well as his unspecified actions regarding other issues.
Feminist writer Jessica Valenti wrote:BuzzFeed News senior tech writer Doree Shafrir was among those who pointed out some kind of irony in Franco wearing the pin celebrating the Time’s Up initiative.Actress Sarah Tither-Kaplan also had a problem with Franco wearing the Time’s Up pin, suggesting that Franco exploited her when she agreed to appear nude in two unnamed films she did for him.When another user suggested to Tither-Kaplan that she had no right to complain about doing the nude scenes after she signed a contract, Tither-Kaplan responded that the Time’s Up initiative is designed to fight abuses of power by male directors and producers. She suggested that this is what ihappened with Franco: