James Franco is addressing — and apologizing for — his online flirtation with a 17-year-old Scottish girl named Lucy.
The news actually broke yesterday, but it wasn't until the 35-year-old actor talked about the incident on Live! With Kelly and Michael today, April 4, that we had confirmation that it was actually him.
"I'm embarrassed, and I guess I'm just a model of how social media is tricky, It's a way people meet each other today, but what I've learned is you don't know who's on the other end," he explained to hosts Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan. "I used bad judgement, and I learned my lesson."
In case you missed it, James and Lucy met at the stage door of his Broadway play, Of Mice and Men. He posed for an Instagram video and instructed Lucy to tag him in it. She did, and that's how he reached out, sending her many questions like "Do you have a [boyfriend]?" and "Where are you staying?" and "When is your [birthday]?" and "What's your [number]?"
He then asked if he should get a room in her hotel — and sent her a couple of selfies as proof that it was actually him. And when she mentioned telling her friends of her brush with celebrity, he told her not to.
It's important to note, however, that the age of consent is 17 in New York and 16 in Scotland. Still, even if it's not illegal, James' pursuit of a girl who is so many years younger will likely bruise his reputation.
And it's important to note that this could all be a publicity stunt: James Franco's new movie Palo Alto sees his character seducing a teenager.
Jury's still out on this one!
Source: Live! With Kelly and Michael