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 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.