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We’re Now Attacking James Franco For Fictional Things He Made Up For a Novel

I didn’t think this would have to said, but “fiction” means that something didn’t actually happen. Someone, it seems, needs to give this memo to the journalists and social media users pouring over James Franco’s 2013 fictional novel Actors Anonymous for proof of his sexual misdeeds.

Now, there’s always some amount of truth in fiction. For example, like John Gault from Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand gave long, rambling monologues about capitalism that put everyone around her to sleep. And J.K. Rowling based the Harry Potter novels on her time in a boarding school for wizards where she learned the dark arts and fought a deadly duel with an evil wizard named Voldemort. But the events in novels are fictionalized and sensationalized to make them more interesting to the readers.

Franco’s novel, Actors Anonymous, follows two main characters, one named James Franco and one only referred to as The Actor, because James Franco isn’t a particularly good writer. Even though the novel is written as a memoir about a guy named James Franco, Franco has always maintained that it’s fictional.

Even though I don’t think I could say fictional more times to describe Franco’s novel, which you can find in the fiction section of your local library or book store, people have been reading the book’s made-up passages about how the fictional James Franco seduces a bunch of young women and going “See! This is a thing that really happened! We told you James Franco is bad!”

Here’s what James Franco said about the passages about his sex life to the New York Daily News in 2013 when the novel released:

“People might roll their eyes at this answer, but I’m really thinking more of the perception of James Franco than trying to confess,” he says.

“Whatever version of James Franco is in there, I’m a person whose public persona is weird. It’s all over the place. The persona is partly my creation. And it’s partly not my creation.

“But the James Franco in the book is part of the atmosphere I’m creating.”

Later in the interview he notes that the book is “pointedly not a memoir”. In other words, it’s about his public persona and not the person he really is. It’s like how Rick Flair said “I’m Ric Flair! The Stylin’, profilin’, limousine riding, jet flying, kiss-stealing, wheelin’ n’ dealin’ son of a gun!” and then got on a bus with like 30 other dudes and went to a 2000 seat stadium in the wop wops to put on a wrestling show for like, $75 a night.

Of course, I’m not surprised that people have lost the ability to tell reality from fiction, we’re a society of people who eat Tide Pods. And I’ve regularly seen social media users, specifically Tumblr users, accuse writers of fiction of being racist or sexist for having racist or sexist characters in their novels, even when those characters are portrayed as being villains or overcoming their prejudices and learning a lesson about how everyone is equal.

James Franco is accused of on-set sexual misconduct, specifically removing the protective covering from actresses’ vaginas during sex scenes. That’s a serious charge and it should be addressed. But Franco doesn’t need to answer for things he made up in a fictional novel, that, even if they’re true, is just him having sex with a bunch of college students who want to have sex with him because he’s James Franco. I’m pretty sure it doesn’t become a crime to have consensual sex with someone of legal age just because you’re famous.

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