Please step away from the adolescents, Jimmy. On April 3, James Franco earned a lot of heat for attempting a not-so-casual conversation with a teenager on Instagram.
Franco, 35, began direct messaging 17-year-old Lucy Clode through the popular sharing app. The teenager from Scotland was visiting New York City as a present for her 18th birthday.
Clode first met Franco at his Broadway show “Of Mice and Men” where she took an Instagram video with the star and he asked to be tagged in the video.
Franco then began sending her multiple direct messages on the social media site such as if she was 18, what her phone number was and if he should get a hotel room near her.
Clode, who was skeptical of the messages asked for pictures as proof that she was actually talking to Franco, since she thought it was a hoax being so close to April Fool’s Day.
The two began texting, and Franco sent Clode a picture of his face to prove it was him. Clode was still skeptical, and asked Franco to write her name on a piece of paper and send it to her with his face. He obliged.
The teenager denied the star and told him she would return to the U.S. when she was 18, and Franco was quick to turn her away sending her multiple messages saying “bye.” When Clode mentioned that her friends in Scotland wouldn’t believe this exchange took place, Franco got even creepier and said “don’t tell.”
The conversation was leaked Wednesday night and many people had mixed feelings. Some thought it was a PR stunt to promote his upcoming film “Palo Alto,” where Franco plays a soccer coach who seduces a teenage student played by Emma Roberts. Other people chalked it up to Franco being a creep in his mid-30s hitting on girls way too young for him.
Unfortunately for Franco, this was not a PR stunt, but rather a case of bad judgment. When the conversation was leaked, Franco released an image on Instagram and Twitter saying “I hope parents keep their teens away from me. Thank you.” He later deleted the image.
Franco made an appearance on the talk show “Live! With Kelly and Michael” and requested that the bizarre situation be addressed first thing.
Franco repeatedly admitted to feeling embarrassed and said he is new to social media and meeting people as a star and having the possibility of it being leaked is “double embarrassing.” Franco admitted to using bad judgment and making a mistake on his part.
As far as following James Franco on Instagram in hopes of getting a direct message from him, I wouldn’t get too excited. It seems like Franco won’t be reaching out to any fans over social media again any time soon.