James Franco was one of several men who hit the 2018 Golden Globes red carpet with a Time's Up pin on his lapel. But unlike many other pin-adorned men that night, Franco's public support of Time's Up sparked accusatory tweets from several women who had an issue with the star and director of The Disaster Artist backing an initiative founded to eradicate behavior that he allegedly perpetrated.
On The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, the late night host brought up the tweets, which included one from actress Ally Sheedy, who said that she "left the film/tv business" because of men like him (before deleting her tweet), and another from an actress who called the on-set interaction she had with him "exploitive." Colbert brought up some of the tweets, and gave Franco the opportunity to discuss Sheedy's comments and the other women's claims about his alleged behavior at work.
"I wanted to ask you about some criticism you got on Golden Globes night, because you were wearing a Time's Up pin, in support of the Time's Up movement, which has been created by many powerful women in Hollywood to say that time is up for the abuse and misuse of women, both sexually and otherwise, not only in Hollywood but around the country..." Colbert began. "You got criticized for wearing that. Do you know why, and do you have a response? Do you have anything you want to say about that criticism?"
"First, I want to say that I wore it because I do support it," Franco replied, uncharacteristically stone-faced.
"Look: I was so excited to win, but being in that room that night was incredible. It was powerful. There were incredible voices. I support it. I support change. I support 50/50 in 2020, which just means that people who are underrepresented — women, and people of color, people in the LGBT community — get leadership positions, that they fill all positions that they've been deprived of. I completely believe in that. That's why I wore [the Time's Up pin].
"There were some things on Twitter — yeah, I haven't read them," he continued. "I've heard about them. Okay. First of all: I have no idea what I did to Ally Sheedy. I directed her in a play off-Broadway. I had nothing but a great time with her. Total respect for her. I have no idea why she was upset. She took the tweet down; I don't know. I can't speak for her, I don't know. The others? Look, in my life, I pride myself on taking responsibility for things that I've done. I have to do that to maintain my well-being. I do it whenever I know that there's something wrong, or needs to be changed. I make it a point to do it. The things that I heard on Twitter are not accurate, but I completely support people coming out and being able to have a voice, because they didn't have a voice for so long. I don't want to shut them down in any way. I think it's a good thing, and I support it."
Hey James Franco, nice #timesup pin at the #GoldenGlobes , remember a few weeks ago when you told me the full nudity you had me do in two of your movies for $100/day wasn't exploitative because I signed a contract to do it? Times up on that!— Sarah Tither-Kaplan🌈 (@sarahtk) January 8, 2018
Colbert continued to ask him about this dialogue, and how it can be productive off of social media. Franco stressed that listening to those who come forward is important — even if he denied these specific claims against him.
"Like I said, the way I live my life, I can't live if there's restitution to be made. I will make it. So if I've done something wrong, I will fix it. I have to. I think that's how that works. I don't know what else to do. As far as the bigger issues, how we do it, look — I really don't have the answers, and I think the point of this whole thing is that we listen. There were incredible people talking that night. They had a lot to say. And I'm here to listen and learn, and change my perspective where it's off, and I'm completely willing, and I want to."- Hilary Hughes