Scarlett Johansson Called Out James Franco In Her Women's March 2018 Speech, Asking For Her #TimesUp Pin Back — VIDEO
Amid the recent surge of sexual misconduct allegations levied against him, Scarlett Johansson called out James Franco during her Women's March speech in Los Angeles on Saturday, Jan. 20, for what she perceived to be the actor's marked hypocrisy when it comes to sexual harassment. Johansson delivered a patently emotional speech before the march kicked off Saturday morning. And, while the 33-year-old actor refrained from naming Franco directly, Johansson's rep has since confirmed to multiple outlets (including People, the Los Angeles Times, and Us Weekly) that, in fact, she was referring to Franco during her stirring public address.
Bustle reached out to Johansson and Franco's respective reps for comment on the speech, but has not yet received a response. Without saying his name, Johansson's speech explained the concern that if the accusations against Franco are true, then Franco's attitude toward sexual harassment and female empowerment in public forums versus behind closed doors are very different. Just days after Franco was photographed wearing the Time's Up pin at the Golden Globes, allegations of sexual misconduct against Franco began cropping up on Twitter, followed by a Jan. 11 report by the Los Angeles Times, in which five women accused Franco of sexual misconduct.
In the same Los Angeles Times report, Franco’s attorney, Michael Plonsker, disputed all of the women’s allegations and the actor also said the following on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert after multiple allegations on Twitter surfaced:
“Look, in my life I pride myself on taking responsibility for things that I have done. I have to do that to maintain my well being. The things that I heard that were on Twitter are not accurate. But I completely support people coming out and being able to have a voice because they didn’t have a voice for so long. So I don’t want to shut them down in any way.”
“If I have done something wrong. I will fix it — I have to.”
In pretty characteristic fashion for Johansson (who has been a candid women's rights advocate and active #TimesUp supporter for quite some time), she certainly did not mince her words in front of the crowd of more than half a million, according to Deadline.
In the midst of pondering the particularly egregious abuses of power that have come to light over the past several months (within Hollywood, especially), Johansson posed a daunting question to her some 500,000-person audience during her speech:
How could a person publicly stand by an organization that helps to provide support for victims of sexual assault while privately preying on people who have no power?
And, while Johansson didn't explicitly reference Franco's name, she still managed to get her point across (and pretty succinctly, at that). Johansson cinched her call-out with a point-blank kicker: "I want my pin back."
Presumably, Johansson was referring to the pin Franco fastened to his tux lapel, and proudly sported, during the Golden Globe Awards on Jan. 7 — a sort of solidarity gesture to the #TimesUp movement.
Franco has been vocal about denying the allegations. In addition to his statement on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, Franco addressed the allegations a second time during an appearance on Late Night With Seth Meyers several days later.
"I have my own side of this story, but I believe in these people that have been underrepresented getting their stories out enough that I will hold back things that I could say just because I believe in it that much," Franco told Meyers. The actor went on to say that, if he has to "take a knock because [he's] not going to try and actively refute things," then he will. Why? "Because I believe in it that much," he finished.
Watch Johansson's speech in the video below to see the remarks for yourself.
So, should Johansson expect to receive a lapel-pin-shaped package in the mail anytime soon? That remains to be seen, but her words struck a chord with her audience when it comes to demanding accountability from male supporters of the movement.