This week the curtain was drawn back on James Franco's not-so-private-after-all Instagram activity, whereupon we learned that he recently tried to get a 17-year-old girl to meet him at a hotel room after his performance in Of Mice And Men. The two traded a series of direct messages and eventually texts. Sure, this was in New York where the age of consent is 17—however, a 35-year-old trying to get a starstruck teenage girl to meet him late at night at a hotel is, at the very least, morally dubious.
Unable to pass off the incident as performance art, Franco owned up to it today on the nation's most gentlest of television platforms: Live With Kelly & Michael. There, he told Kelly, Michael, and America—with a rakish grin stretching as far as the eye can see—that aw shucks, he just didn't know any better. Drink every time he says the word "embarrassing" as the corner of his eye shoots out a hypnotizing twinkle:
"I guess, you know, I'm embarrassed. 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, I guess just because I'm new to it, is you don't know who's on the other end. You meet somebody in person you get a feel for them, but [online] you don't know who you're talking to. I learned my lesson. Unfortunately, in my position... I have a very good life, but not only do I have to go through the embarrassing rituals of meeting someone... sometimes if I do that then it gets published for the world. So it's doubly embarrassing."
For her part, Ripa says "it happens to everybody" (does it?), and commends Franco for handling it all so perfectly. She then jokes about how she promises not to reveal their text messages LOL.