Actor and Greek God James Franco has put the rumors to rest regarding his alleged online affair with a 17-year-old. Unfortunately, those rumors were true. Sort of.
Franco met 17-year-old Scottish tourist Lucy Clode while the young lady captured him in an Instagram visit. He requested her to tag him in the video, and messaged her from there. The Social Media flirting progressed to a hotel hook-up invite from the 35-year-old actor, an action that landed him in hot water.
On Friday’s episode of Live! With Kelly and Michael, a sheepish Franco admitted to making a bad decision. “I used bad judgment,” Franco said. “I learned my lesson.”
Franco has been applauded for his transparency and honesty, and his choice to be upfront about the illicit romance has nipped what could have been a scandal in the bud. I wonder, though, were his actions truly that dishonorable?
Let’s be honest, here. What is Franco really guilty of? It is being argued that he has acted in poor taste in three major ways: random hook-up, online flirting/dating, and stalking underage prey. Now, let me explain why none of these make him a bad guy.
- Random Hook-up: While the “random hook-up” may not be the most savory of excursions, it is a stronghold of the dating world. One night stands, dance floor make outs, morning afters in hotel rooms…These things seem dirty, yes, but they aren’t illegal. They aren’t morally wrong, really. They’re just part of today’s ingenue’s love story.
- Online Flirting: In a world where 1 in 5 relationships begin online (according to StatisticBrain.com), the taboo of internet and social media dating isn’t really a taboo at all. Social Media sites like Instagram, the breeding ground for Franco’s flirtations, are virtual representations of ourselves. You learn a lot about a person based on what videos and photos they post–especially if they’re the kind that likes to post every single meal they ever eat.
- Underage Prey: Perhaps the biggest criticism of Franco’s actions is that he was flirting with an underaged girl. True, she is under the age of 18. However, they met in New York, where the age of consent is 17, and Clode is from Scotland, where the age of consent is 16. Neither Franco nor Clode were acting in violation of any statutory laws. True, there is quite the age difference, but that is far from being a crime.
Yes, James Franco flirted with a 17-year-old online. But he is not a terrible person, and he is certainly not a criminal. The only true crime in this situation is that he elected to flirt with Miss Clode and not with me, which is clearly what he should have done.
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Anna is a freelance writer/producer based out of San Francisco. Her writing covers several genres, but her passion lies in humor, entertainment, education and culture.