After James Franco was caught sending texts to an underage teenager, fans around the world wondered, "Was it a hoax? Performance art?" Neither, says James Franco, who came clean today on "Live! With Kelly and Michael" on Friday. Franco admitted that he was indeed flirting with 17-year-old Scottish tourist Lucy Clode.
In the clip above, Franco says "I didn't want to come on the show and feel awkward, so yeah. I mean I guess, you know, I'm embarrassed, and I guess I'm just a model of, you know, how social media is tricky," he said. "It's a way people meet each other today. But what I've learned I guess just because I'm new to it is like, you don't know who's on the other end. You meet somebody in person and you get a feel for them but you don't know who you're talking to, and, you know? So I used bad judgment. I learned my lesson."
To be clear, Franco met Clode on the sidewalk outside his Broadway show "Of Mice and Men" for what looks like one minute.
Franco continued: "Unfortunately in my position, I mean ...I have a very good life, but not only do I have to go through the embarrassing kind of rituals of kind of meeting someone, sometimes if I do that then it gets, you know, published for the world so now, you know, it's like doubly embarrassing." Oddly enough, Franco seemed to address only the fact that the teenager shared the texts, and not the fact that she was underage. He also did not mention that he explicitly asked her if she was 18 and she said no and he still continued to pursue her.
Kelly Ripa defended him. "I think the way you came out here and handled it is perfectly acceptable," she said to him. "It happens to everybody. And I think it happens to movie stars on a much grander scale, like you just said, because everybody knows who you are." Does this mean Ripa has also tried to seduce minors?
Michael Strahan praised Franco for being forthright. "I always think honesty and not avoiding anything is always the best policy and we appreciate that," he told the star.
Follow Andrea Park on Twitter: @andreapark