Women everywhere shook their heads and rolled their eyes after James Franco dismissed the sexual assault allegations against him during an interview on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Although he’s recently been accused of several instances of sexual misconduct, including preying on underage girls, he believes he’s totally in the clear because “the things [he] heard on Twitter were not accurate.” Disgustingly enough, in the same interview, Franco insisted that he “doesn’t want to shut down” anyone, and wants to make sure everyone has a voice.
He might as well have said, “I support sexual assault victims coming out, as long as they don’t accuse me of anything.” He made it clear in the interview that he doesn’t care about women or sexual abuse. His dismissal of the accusations also shows that his supposed support of Time’s Up is only a publicity stunt, and not a movement he is actually passionate about.
[bctt tweet= “He made it clear in the interview that he doesn’t care about women or sexual abuse.” username=“wearethetempest”]
Fast-forward to the 2018 SAG Awards and the world saw James Franco waving his white, straight, male privilege like a flag when he brazenly attended the event, despite being fully aware that the event, like many recent entertainment award ceremonies, would foster discussions around Time’s Up, #MeToo, and women’s empowerment. He had the audacity to show up to a space where he was absolutely not wanted, thereby putting his own self-proclaimed innocence over the safety and solidarity of all the women at the SAG Awards who have been assaulted or harassed.
In another trash move, Franco reportedly skipped out on walking the red carpet and did not give any interviews that night. He didn’t want to get roasted by reporters. Instead, he wanted to have his cake and eat it too by avoiding taking responsibility for his actions while enjoying the awards ceremony.
I was infuriated when I learned about the way he handled the accusations against him, but I was nauseated at his decision to show up to the SAG Awards with zero shame. Infringing on this space was a smack in the face to his victims as well as all the women at the event. His decision to attend reeks of self-righteousness and the type of clueless confidence only white men seem to possess. It speaks volumes about the privilege white men are guaranteed: not only did Franco assert his own innocence on television after multiple sources came out against him, but he also lacked the shame or social awareness to stay away from an event that addressed ending sexual abuse and the intimidation of victims.
[bctt tweet= “He has the luxury of finding his accusers’ accounts more inconvenient than threatening.” username=“wearethetempest”]
He simultaneously absolved himself of any wrongdoing and unabashedly barged into the SAG Awards because he has the privilege of not caring about women or sexual assault.
He has the luxury of finding his accusers’ accounts to be more inconvenient than threatening.
He has the option of hiding out from the press to avoid making himself look like an even bigger predator.
He can go about his life without reliving any trauma, but I doubt his victims can say the same.
Thankfully, he’s already been called out. Scarlett Johansson ripped into Franco during the Los Angeles Women’s March, demanding, “How could a person publicly stand by an organization that helps to provide support for victims of sexual assault while privately preying on people who have no power?”
Because straight white men rarely have to care about the consequences of their actions. They are almost never forced to evaluate the pain they cause others, particularly women. They don a Time’s Up pin fully aware of their past behavior because they know they can always call their victims liars later on, if confronted.
[bctt tweet= “Straight white men rarely have to care about the consequences of their actions.” username=“wearethetempest”]
We must continue to call out men’s hypocrisy and blatant mistreatment of women. We must also keep examining how white privilege enables so many of these men to avoid or diminish any repercussions from their predatory actions.