James Franco opened up about the Instagram scandal he has found himself embroiled in when it was revealed that he had allegedly texted Lucy Clode, a 17-year-old Scottish teenager to arrange a hookup. The actor made his first comments on ‘Live with Kelly and Michael.’

James Franco

Photo: James Franco
Credit: PR Photos

The 35-year-old actor, director and scholar is among the stars of the Broadway revival of ‘Of Mice and Men’ and it was allegedly after the show that he had exchanged texts and selfies with the 17-year-old Lucy Clode. The gist of it, a flirtatious exchange escalated when Franco apparently asked her if he should rent a room.

Screenshots found their way online and a scandal and firestorm erupted. Yet at the same time there has been rampant speculation that this may all be an elaborate prank or hoax in service of promoting his upcoming movie ‘Palo Alto,’ whose trailer debuted that very same day as the Instagram scandal. He portrays a soccer coach who seduces a 14-year-old girl.

Coincidence or not, hoax or not, James Franco addressed the scandal as a real scandal as he spoke with the titular hosts of ‘Live,’ Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan.

He said, “I’m embarrassed, and I guess I’m just a model of how social media is tricky. It’s way that people meet each other today, but what I’ve learned — I guess because I’m new to it — is you don’t know who’s on the other end.”

He went on to say “You get a feel for them, you don’t know who you’re talking to. I used bad judgement and I learned my lesson. Unfortunately, in my position — I mean, I have a very good life, but not only do I have to go through the embarrassing kind of rituals of meeting someone, but if I do that, then it gets published for the world. So now, it’s double embarrassing.”

Whether this is the end of the scandal remains to be seen. It is a story that could unfold in any number of ways. Was this, as he said, “bad judgment” indicating a one-time foray into such behavior? Or will it prove to be a prank for the sake of his movie ‘Palo Alto?’ After all, a few years ago, we witnessed Joaquin Phoenix pull off a much more elaborate and longstanding hoax which for a time led many to believe the actor was having a serious, perhaps life-threatening meltdown and crisis. And, of course that turned out to be for the sake of a documentary.

For now, we have only screenshots of an Instagram conversation and we have the words of the actor himself. You can see the video below.