James Franco, aged 44, has recently started making a cautious comeback in films after spending some time in the wilderness as a result of serious charges made against him. He was once one of the biggest entertainers in the world, revered as a sex icon, and adored by millions of devoted followers everywhere.
In films like Pineapple Express, he was able to play everything from endearingly juvenile characters to powerful villains and sombre sombre roles with ease. He transformed himself from a meagre McDonald’s employee to a Hollywood starring man, and he went on to be cast in enduring parts like James Dean in a biography about the tragic actor and The Green Goblin in the Spider-Man series.
Franco once appeared to be everywhere and doing everything, including hosting the Oscars and enrolling in a number of different schools to improve his education. He first received a lot of positive press for his actions while still a student due to his poetry writing, acting lessons, and praise as a gifted author and artist. But soon after, his dazzling stardom started to suddenly fade.
There’s No Doubting Franco’s Talent
There’s no denying that Franco had earned the respect he first enjoyed from reviewers, his peers, and fans as an actor and entertainer in general. Simply put, he was a terrific actor who had the ability to move an audience to tears or wild laughter. His performance in the 2010 film 127 Hours earned him an Oscar nomination, which only helped his career as a director, writer, and actor.
At the height of his career, he received numerous honours for the films and other works he produced, including two Golden Globes: one for Best Actor in The Disaster Artist and one for Best Performance in his made-for-television picture James Dean. With The Disaster Artist, he appeared to be at the pinnacle of his career in 2018, but a dark cloud had been hanging over it since 2014.
The Allegations Against Franco
Franco Franco was accused of sexual misbehaviour for the first time in Spring Breakers A24 2014—an accusation that he later acknowledged was accurate. The situation started when a girl who was 17 at the time released screenshots of discussions she had with Franco in which he pleaded with her to visit his hotel room.
His behaviour wasn’t unlawful because the age of consent in New York was 17, but it nonetheless sparked a wave of outrage. At the height of the MeToo Movement four years later, he was the target of new accusations. Ironically, he wore a “Time’s Up” pin to the 2018 Golden Globes to show his support for victims.
The irony was that, according to a later Los Angeles Times investigation, he had now been accused of significant sexually inappropriate and sexually exploitative behaviour by five other women. The allegations centred on Franco’s tenure as their teacher and acting mentor at his now-defunct Studio 4 acting and filmmaking academy.
The most alarming allegations claimed that Franco frequently made references to roles that might be open to female students if they engaged in sexual activity or were willing to take off their clothes. Even worse were claims that he would take female students’ vaginal guards off when instructing sex scene workshops, simulating things like oral sex on them without the guards on.
The Aftermath of the Allegations
In response to these charges, lawsuits were brought against Franco by the end of 2019, and by 2021, according to The Huffington Post, he had tentatively settled them. Franco seems to have temporarily gone from the acting scene during the enormous outrage around these episodes and the 2014 allegation. Seth Rogen, a frequent co-star, distanced himself from him.
He officially acknowledged being a sex addict and having sought therapy for his problem after later confessing to having sex with many of his former classmates. Franco, who took a break from acting for a while, made a comeback to the big screen last year with his part in the historical drama Me, You. He has since been cast in a movie about the controversial former Cuban leader Fidel Castro.
Many have questioned whether Franco should be permitted to continue acting in light of his resurgence on the acting scene and whether we will ever see him achieve his prior success. Many people think James Franco should have been completely cancelled following all the claims and his own later damning admissions in relation to them, given the prominence of cancel culture and its special propensities for career-ending outcries in the wake of the MeToo movement.
Although broaching the subject could be risky, there is a case to be made for Franco possibly still deserving a second opportunity. Even while the accusations are undoubtedly serious, he has admitted to them, opted to resolve the situation amicably rather than contest it, and in many other ways has been transparent about his actions and desire to change. How seriously he intends it isn’t entirely evident.
Should He Be Canceled or Not?
On the other hand, of course, cancel culture has frequently shown to be a one-sided and gratuitous monster that devours every career it can get to, amid even the most minor claims. Therefore, it is unlikely that Franco will ever be able to fully recover from the controversies. That might or might not be for the best given the troubling nature of the claims.
However, a seemingly unmentioned drawback of celebrities whose shows are cancelled is that the world frequently loses extraordinarily talented people as a result of the situation. However, given the nature of the accusations against Franco, it is unlikely that such issues would ever come up since anyone who might want to defend Franco could find themselves on the receiving end of retaliation.
It will always be debatable whether wokeness and the cancel culture always lead to legitimate cancellations or even if they should even exist. Given that the two topics are now being discussed more frequently in Hollywood, there does seem to be a small amount of balance being restored. As a result, when they are slated for cancellation, many superstars now opt to stage comebacks as opposed to going away. However, the conversation continues.