Scarlett Johansson To James Franco At L.A. Women’s March: “I Want My Pin Back”
SCARLETT JOHANSSON DISCUSSES JAMES FRANCO AT L.A. WOMEN’S MARCH
Franco has been accused by five women of sexual misconduct, including past students and an ex-girlfriend. At the rally, Johansson criticized Franco for participating in the Time’s Up initiative and for wearing a pin by the group at the Golden Globes.
“How could a person publicly stand by an organization that helps to provide support for victims of sexual assault while privately preying on people who have no power?” the actress said to the crowd of more than 700,000 who showed up to march for equality and women’s rights. “I want my pin back, by the way,” she added.
At the time, Johansson did not refer to Franco by name, but her remarks were confirmed to be about the Disaster Artist actor by her rep Marcel Pariseau.
Franco wore the Time’s Up pin at the awards show just four days before a report by The Los Angeles Times was published, airing the allegations against him. Franco has denied that he took part in any nonconsensual activities in an interview with Stephen Colbert. The actor subsequently skipped the Critics’ Choice Awards, where he won the best actor award for The Disaster Artist.
At the rally, Johansson continued in her speech to discuss her “rage” and “sadness” when recalling her own experiences in the industry. “Suddenly I was 19 again and I began to remember all the men who had taken advantage of the fact that I was a young woman who didn’t yet have the tools to say ‘no,’ or understand the value of my own self-worth,” she said. “I had many relationships both personal and professional where the power dynamic was so off that I had to create a narrative that I was the cool girl who could hang in and hang out, and that sometimes meant compromising what felt right for me. No more pandering. No more feeling guilty about hurting someone’s feelings when something doesn’t feel right for me. I have made a promise to myself to be responsible to myself, that in order to trust my instincts I must first respect them.”
Natalie Portman added her voice to the speeches and described her own story. When she was 12-years-old after acting in her first film, Léon: The Professional, “I opened my first fan mail to read a rape fantasy that a man had written me,” she said. “I understood very quickly, even as a 13-year-old, that if I were to express myself sexually, that I would feel unsafe. And that men would feel entitled to discuss and objectify my body.” In an attempt to retake control of her own body, Portman says she would “reject any role that even had a kissing scene… In interviews, I emphasized how bookish I was and how serious I was. I built a reputation for basically being prudish, conservative, nerdy, serious, in an attempt to feel that my body was safe and my voice would be listened to.”