After the uncomfortable grilling he received from Stephen Colbert on Tuesday night’s Late Show, no one would have been surprised if James Franco had canceled his planned appearance on Late Night With Seth Meyers the next evening.
But there he was Wednesday at 30 Rockefeller Plaza, ready again to address the allegations of sexual misconduct that were leveled against him following a big win at the Golden Globes for his portrayal of Tommy Wiseau in The Disaster Artist.
Franco struggled to respond to the mostly non-specific accusations against him during his interview with Colbert, saying he has “no idea” what he did to actress Ally Sheedy, who deleted her tweets about him, and calling other Twitter allegations against him “not accurate.”
Unlike Colbert, Meyers wasted no time bringing up the elephant in the studio. But instead of pushing the story further, he asked nearly identical questions to Colbert—and got almost identical answers. And while he tried cautiously to get Franco to discuss specific actions that he might regret, the actor would only speak in the general and offered no apologies for his alleged behavior.
“I want to talk about The Disaster Artist, which I loved and want to get to the Golden Globes,” Meyers began. “But, one of the things that happened at the Golden Globes—and obviously, this happened in the last couple of days before we had you booked on the show and I’m glad you're still here—you were wearing a Time’s Up button like a lot of guys at the show and some women during your time on stage said that was hypocritical. They went to Twitter and said that it was hypocritical based on their experiences that they have had with you. They made some allegations. I wonder if you have read those tweets, and if so, how you respond to them?”
“Yes, I was sent a couple of the tweets, so yeah, I did read them,” Franco replied. “I haven’t responded. I think—well the ones I read were not accurate, but one of the things that I’ve learned is that this is a conversation that obviously needs to be had. There are people, women and others, who have not been a part of this conversation and I truly believe and why I was wearing the pin is that they need to be a part of this conversation and so I support that.”
Referring to the vague allegation from Ally Sheedy specifically, Meyers acknowledged the denial that Franco issued on Colbert’s show and asked if he has reached out to her to try to find out what she is upset about. “Are you not curious as to why she would do that if you had, from your perspective, a good relationship with her?”
When Franco did not answer that question directly, again simply saying he had a “great relationship” with her when he directed her in a play, Meyers asked again. “Not curious enough though to reach out to her as someone that you had a good relationship with before to try to understand why she would have done that?”
“I don’t know,” Franco said, sighing heavily. “It was so shocking. I don't know. I just—I guess I’m just letting it be.”
Before moving on, Meyers said to Franco, “This moment, you know, I think this is an exciting time because it’s allowing us all to remember, especially as men, that there were other people in different perspectives for things that we experienced.” Then he asked, “Does this Time’s Up movement and this moment we’re having right now, does it make you look back at all and question any of your behavior in the past based on this new perspective we’re getting on how women have perceived things for so long?”
“I think what I really learned and being here and this week and that show that we were you know,” Franco stammered, referring to the Golden Globes. “I mean, it was so powerful in there.”
“Like I said, there are stories that need to get out,” he continued. “There are people that need to be heard. I have my own side of this story, but I believe in, you know, these people that have been underrepresented getting their stories out enough that I will, you know, hold back things that I could say just because I believe in it that much. And if I have to take a knock because I’m not going to, you know, try and, you know, actively refute things, then I will, because I believe in it that much.”
With that, Meyers thanked his guest for speaking to him “about those things” and moved on to less fraught topics.
After two consecutive evenings discussing the allegations against him with late-night hosts, Franco is likely hoping that the story can be put behind him and he can move on to what until this week was an expected Oscar nomination. In the midst of the Time’s Up movement he believes in “that much,” he might not be so lucky.