There are suggestions going around that the accusations of James Franco flirting with a 17-year-old on social media are all just for publicity. They came out right at the same time as the trailer for his upcoming new movie Palo Alto.
The movie, which also features American Horror Story: Coven star Emma Roberts, is about a 17-year-old girl who falls for her soccer coach. The actor plays the coach, who ends up dating the young girl.
Franco previously wrote a series of short stories and put them together as a collection in 2010. One of those stories is the basis for the new movie, which has already been highly spoken about at both the Venice Film Festival and the Telluride Film Festival.
The whole scandal started when Lucy Clode posted a photo of the actor while he was at the stage door of the Mice and Men Broadway production on her Instagram account. The 17-year-old later posted an alleged conversation that happened between them, which included him asking her if he should get a room, so she could meet up with him. This was after he found out her age, which is the legal age of consent in the state of New York, where she lives.
The 35-year-old actor claims that nothing has happened between the two. However, there are many who are now wondering whether all the flirting accusations were just a publicity stunt since Franco’s movie trailer for Palo Alto has also been released this week. There are certainly some mirroring themes, but could it be coincidental for the timing?
There was no possible way that the actor could have known Clode would have shared the conversations. However, it is something he could have expected since many 17-year-old girls would want to share the “excitement” of being chatted up by a Hollywood and Broadway star.
Of course, the whole situation could have been set up. Clode could have been hired by Franco’s publicity team to make sure the conversations happened and it all went viral. He has done nothing wrong legally, considering the age of consent in the state, so he had nothing to worry about in that sense. However, it has damaged his reputation.
There are some who will point out that Clode is from Scotland. The age of consent there is 16, so there is still nothing legally wrong. There are still a few moral implications considering his age, though. Clode’s grandmother is reportedly unimpressed with his actions.
There are questions over how this could actually help his movie. Could a negative view improve the chances of Palo Alto’s success? The benefit is that his name and the name of the new movie are on the tongues of everyone. People will want to see him act out the story of a soccer coach being involved with a 17-year-old student, especially when they know it could mirror real life.
The Spiderman actor’s new film is out on May 9, but trailers for it have just been released this week. It certainly seems like the perfect timing for it all. The question is did the upcoming movie really need Franco to arrange the flirting accusations for a publicity stunt?
Opinion by Alexandria Ingham