January 10, 2018

James Franco’s Show The Deuce Normalizes Sexual Exploitation of Women. Now He’s Accused of Sexual Misconduct.

Multiple women, including two actresses, accused actor, director, and producer James Franco of sexual misconduct after he wore a “Time’s Up” pin to the Golden Globe Awards. Franco says the allegations “aren’t accurate,” but he supports “change.” Franco is a producer and actor for HBO’s sexually exploitive show, The Deuce, which is about pornography and prostitution in 1970s New York City.

James Franco’s The Deuce normalizes the inherently exploitive industries of prostitution and pornography, the victims of which are overwhelmingly girls and women. Unless and until James Franco acknowledges the harm productions like his do to women, his talk of ‘change’ is completely hollow.

The Deuce, About a "Pioneer" Business Model?
The Deuce, About a “Pioneer” Business Model?

The Deuce is centered on the commercial sex trade, which provides a convenient backdrop for James Franco and HBO to portray copious amounts of gratuitous nudity, misogyny, and violence against women as simply part of the story.

The Deuce depicts sexual violence, degradation, and exploitation as acceptable, or even attractive, in certain circumstances. For example, the female lead is portrayed as an “empowered” self-prostituted woman who simply sees the sale of her body to men for sex as a business venture, suggesting that prostitution is sometimes a good, economically viable employment option for women.  To learn more about the true harms prostituted persons’ experience, visit our project Bright Light on the Red Light.

The first test of whether James Franco is sincerely concerned about sexual assault and the mistreatment of women is whether he stops actively contributing to #MeToo culture by dropping out of The Deuce.

Lisa L. Thompson

Vice President of Research and Education

Lisa L. Thompson serves as the Vice President of Research and Education for the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, where she oversees NCOSE’s strategic planning for increased public understanding of sexual exploitation related issues. To this end Lisa conducts analysis, develops research initiatives, and liaises with a wide-range of public officials, non-profit organizations, institutions of higher learning, and academics to generate collaborative action to combat the full spectrum of sexual exploitation especially as pertains to the harms of pornography, stripping, prostitution, and sexual trafficking.

Lisa joins the NCOSE following nearly two years with World Hope International (WHI), where as its Director of Anti-Trafficking, Lisa administered WHI’s anti-trafficking and sexual-violence recovery programs in Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Liberia and Sierra Leone. While working for WHI Lisa also served as a steering committee member of the Faith Alliance Against Slavery and Trafficking (FAAST), a collaboration initiative she helped found, and as a reviewer for the Journal of Human Trafficking.

She has written on the subjects of sexual trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation for publications such as Christian History and Biography, Caring, Mutuality, PRISM, and Social Work and Christianity. Lisa is a contributing author to Hands that Heal: International Curriculum for Caregivers of Trafficking Survivors, as well as the book Global Perspectives on Prostitution and Sex Trafficking:  Europe Latin America, North America, and Global in which she contributed chapters about the use of torture by pimps, as well as the policy conflicts between sex trafficking abolitionists and HIV/AIDS advocates. She is the co-editor of a special anti-trafficking edition of the North American Association of Christians in Social Work journal Social Work & Christianity and has provided expert testimony to the U.S. Congress. Lisa routinely speaks about sex trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation (i.e. prostitution, pornography, stripping), and facilitates anti-trafficking training events for a diverse range of audiences.

Additionally, Lisa served for more than 12 years as the Liaison for the Abolition of Sexual Trafficking for The Salvation Army USA National Headquarters. In that role she pioneered strategies for The Salvation Army to create recovery services for survivors of sexual trafficking and advocated on public policy issues and initiatives related to combating sexual trafficking and other forms of commercial sexual exploitation. Lisa chaired The Salvation Army’s North American Anti-Trafficking Council and directed its Initiative Against Sexual Trafficking. Previous to her arrival at The Salvation Army, Lisa served as Policy Representative for the National Association of Evangelicals’ (NAE) Office for Governmental Affairs in Washington, DC, from 1998 to 2001. While there, she was heavily involved in NAE’s advocacy efforts seeking passage of legislation now known as the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000. She has also worked for consulting firms managing Community Develop Block Grants programs in Kentucky, and taught English as a second language in the People’s Republic of China.

Lisa earned her Bachelor of Arts in Government from Western Kentucky University, and her Master’s degree in Leadership, Public Policy and Social Issues from Union Institute and University.

Further Reading

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