On Thursday, the Los Angeles Times published a piece detailing multiple women’s accusations of inappropriate, sexual misconduct against recent Golden Globe winner James Franco. After he received the award last Sunday, the women in the piece spoke up about the hypocrisy surrounding the “Time’s Up” pin on Franco’s suit.
A man accused of such vile behavior really shouldn’t be “advocating” for a legal defense fund that protects against sexual assault. That would be like Louis CK retweeting a thread of MeToo moments that swept over Hollywood the past year.
When I saw the CNN notification on my phone about Franco, my heart dropped. I imagine I felt the same way that middle-aged white women felt when they realized Kevin Spacey was gay. I tried to be surprised that one of the few male actors I looked up to had stooped so low to act this way toward women, but I couldn’t. This past year only taught me that, sadly, anybody can be that evil, ill-intentioned boogeyman your parents taught you to stay away from.
I can’t count how many times I’ve watched "Freaks and Geeks" on Netflix. I still remember watching "Pineapple Express" many years ago when I probably wasn’t supposed to. I just watched Franco on SNL last month, completely ready to throw away money to go see his new movie. And, let’s be honest, he’s an attractive guy.
It’s hard to admit when someone you like, someone you admire, someone you enjoy watching be successful has messed up. But Franco, and the many other men recently under fire for similar allegations, did just that. The only thing they can do now is own up to their actions, which still won’t make up for the pain, fear and doubt they caused vulnerable men and women to feel.
It’s also difficult to say whether or not this trend of allowing victims to stand up and expose their assaulters will last. Since the Weinstein news broke all the way back in October, more than 50 other high-profile Hollywood faces were also accused of the same misconduct.
Right now, the #MeToo movement has reached unheard of heights but is it just another fad? Does such a thing have any lasting power when punishments for the accused are so infrequent?
Wearing all black at the Golden Globes was a perfect unifier, but will that still be the dress code for the more upbeat Grammys? Will it even reach the Oscars in less than a month or will the world have moved on by then?
Will the Weinstein Company give Harvey his job back once MeToo blows over? Probably. Will Woody Allen make subpar movies until the day he dies without any repercussions toward everything he’s done? Seems likely. Will Matt Later return to reporting after everyone forgets about his secret button? Hard to say, but Fox News will always hire him. Will these accusations toward James Franco affect my thoughts about him?
Yes. They have to. We, as a society, can not keep supporting such influential men even when we find out how awful they are. The only way to stop men in Hollywood from abusing their power is to not give them any power in the first place.