James Franco admits flirting with 17-year-old girl on Instagram - 'Social media is tricky'
Watch out, parents! Instagram is the new Tinder, at least for James Franco. Franco admitted on national television that he tried to pick up a 17-year-old girl named Lucy Corde after she tagged him in a video she posted on Instagram. Based on the screen shots Lucy provided, he even went so far as asking her if she wanted to get a room.
Lucy was visiting New York with her mom as an early 18th birthday present, when she happened to see Franco in the crowd outside the theater where "Of Mice and Men" is being staged. Franco apparently saw her filming and told her, "Ya gotta tag me," when she posts it on Instagram. Lucy did tag Franco and then the two started chatting on Instagram.
Franco got right to the point, asking Lucy where she was from, where she was staying, how old she was and if she had a boyfriend. She told him that she was visiting for two more days and that she was 18. In response to the boyfriend question, she replied, "[N]ot if you're around." The exchange moved from Instagram to text pretty quickly and Franco finally asked the big question:
"What's the hotel?" he asked. "Should I rent a room?"
Lucy brushed him off and said she'd come back when she turned 18 and then maybe. Although he told her not to tell anyone, she took screenshots of their conversation (to show her friends of course!) and the story soon leaked to the press.
Shortly afterwards, Franco was quite busy defending his honor and apologizing for his actions. In response to accusations that he's a creeper, Franco wrote on Twitter:
"I'M NOT! I HOPE PARENTS KEEP THEIR TEENS AWAY FROM ME. Thank you."
Franco also went on "Live with Kelly and Michael" to clear the air.
"I'm embarrassed and I guess I'm just a model of how social media is tricky," he said. "It's the way that people meet each other today, but what I've learned - I guess because I'm new to it - is you don't know who's on the other end. You get a feel for them; you don't know who you're talking to. I used bad judgment and I learned my lesson."
It's certainly true that social media can be tricky because you don't know if people are who they say they are, their real age or their true intentions. However, in this case, Franco was fully aware the Lucy was indeed who she said she was (he met her in real life), her age (she told him) and her intentions (to not sleep with him). The media seem split down the middle as to whether the Instagram video and flirty texts were just an elaborate publicity stunt for his upcoming movie, in which Franco plays (surprise!) a lecherous high school teacher who has an affair with a student, or a real faux pas.