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 Policy and Research

As Vice President of Policy and Research for the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, Lisa conducts policy analysis and advocacy, advances understanding of pornography’s public health harms, and liaises with public officials, advocates, and academics to advance strategies combating the web of sexual exploitation, including pornography, stripping, prostitution, sexual trafficking, sexual assault, and more.

Lisa joined NCOSE following two years with World Hope International where as Director of Anti-Trafficking, Lisa oversaw sex trafficking recovery programs in Cambodia, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. 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. Lisa also routinely speaks and trains on sexual exploitation topics for a diverse range of audiences. Lisa served for more than 12 years as the Liaison for the Abolition of Sexual Trafficking for The Salvation Army USA National Headquarters.

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

Further Reading