Nobody needs to be told that James Franco's actions are often off the wall but - if this story is true - he's taken it way too far this time.
Screenshots from a 17-year-old Scottish girl named Lucy Clode have revealed that the star went full creep on her ass after meeting her at the stage door of his Broadway show, Of Mice and Men.
The teenage fan uploaded a video onto Instagram of the moment she met the [This Is the End](movie:337053) actor which features Franco pointing at Lucy and telling her;
You gotta tag me!
The video has since been deleted from Instagram, but a version from Youtube can be seen below;
Images (which have since been removed) later appeared on Imgur depicting screen caps of Franco indulging in a spot of conversation with the young fan.
After introducing himself, the star quickly gets all chatroom creeper circa 2003 and starts digging for Lucy's personal details, including her age and location:
Apparently, Franco did a bit of googling and found out the the age of consent in New York is actually 17 (or, the potential perve knew that info by heart - like a pro) because almost 18 was good enough for him. I mean, what could be morally wrong about trying to have a one night stand with a girl who is travelling with her Mum and almost 4 years too young to invite for a drink?
Then the conversation appears to move into SMS format with the star pressuring Lucy into going to a hotel with him:
After Franco verifies his identity with a picture, the reality clearly sinks in to Lucy who appears to be having reservations about the possibility of meeting a strange man who is twice her age in a foreign country.
The teenager asks Franco to verify his identity once more, so she can show off to her friends in Scotland, and assures him she will come back when she's 18, but he sounds 'so dodgy':
What an absolutely damning account, but the most damning thing is how such a huge portion of the internet has turned against the girl in question for exposing Franco whilst simultaneously patting him on the back for using his fame and influence to prey on a 17-year-old-girl. High five internet! Way to arrange your morality.
If this does turn out to be true, Franco's reputation deserves to end up in tatters, but I think the [Spring Breakers](movie:386903) actor might have been pulling a misguided publicity stunt for a certain upcoming movie...
[Palo Alto](movie:1102176) - which happens to be a screen play adapted from Franco's 2010 book of the same title - is due to be released on May 9 2014. It also happens to star Franco playing a sleazy soccer coach perving on Emma Roberts. Does anyone else smell a connection here?
I wouldn't put this bizarre publicity stunt beyond Franco, but trivializing the issue of people using their power and influence to prey on naive young people seems tasteless to me...
I liked you much better when you were having your own face printed on pillows and lounging around in cupcake onesies, Franco!
So, is James Franco and authentic creeper, or is this just a huge publicity stunt? Opinions please, I can't decide...