After James Franco won the Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy Golden Globe on Sunday evening while dressed in black and wearing a “Time’s Up” pin, referencing the legal aid initiative founded by women in Hollywood (including Natalie Portman, Shonda Rhimes, and Reese Witherspoon) for victims of sexual misconduct, allegations were waged against the filmmaker and actor by various women online. The comments came from actress Ally Sheedy, who worked with Franco on an off-Broadway play, along with at least two other women, Violet Paley and Sarah Tither-Kaplan.
While appearing on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” on Tuesday evening, the late night host asked Franco about the allegations after a mostly lighthearted appearance and plenty of banter about Franco’s latest film, “The Disaster Artist.” Colbert’s entry point was a soft pitch to the embattled actor: he asked Franco if he understood why he had been criticized for wearing the pin.
“I wore it because I do support it,” he told Colbert. “Look, I was so excited to win, but being in that room that night, it was incredible. It was powerful, there were incredible voices. I support it, I support change.” Franco’s initial comments were met with applause by Colbert’s audience, before he then segued into tougher answers.
“There were some things on Twitter, I haven’t read them, I’ve heard about them,” he started. “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.”
He continued, “The others? Look, in my life, I pride myself for 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 that needs to be changed, I make it a point to do it. The things that I heard were on Twitter are not accurate, but I completely support people coming out and being able to have a voice…I don’t want to shut them down in any way. I think it’s a good thing and I support it.”
Colbert then pressed Franco, asking him if he thought there was any way to “have this discussion that isn’t in social media” and if he had “any idea what the answer might be” when it comes to reconciling experiences that do not reflect those that Franco says he had.
“Like I said, if I– the way I live my life, I can’t live if there is restitution to be made, I will make it,” Franco said. “So, if I’ve done something wrong, I will fix it. I have to. I think that’s how that works. I don’t want else to do…I’m here to listen and learn, and change my perspective where it’s off. I’m completely willing, and want to.”
Earlier today (though likely before the taping of Colbert’s show), an upcoming TimesTalk with Franco was cancelled in the wake of the allegations