Don’t try your bullshit on Stephen Colbert. It won’t end well for you.
Colbert has long earned his reputation as a political badass, calling out any idiotic thing our fearless leader does. But now he’s taken on a new role: ally to sexual assault victims.
Last night, Colbert had James Franco on the show and refused to let him off the hook when it came to those sexual assault accusations.
In case you can’t keep track of all the sexual assault in Hollywood, here’s a refresher on the James Franco situation:
Actress Ally Sheedy called out Franco on Twitter during the Golden Globes, writing.
“Why is James Franco allowed in? Said too much.”
And then later,
“James Franco just won. Please never ever ask me why I left the film/tv business.”
Ally has since deleted the tweets and has not gone into detail.
Another accuser is Violet Paley, who tweeted,
“Cute #TIMESUP pin James Franco. Remember the time you pushed my head down in a car towards your exposed penis & that other time you told my friend to come to your hotel when she was 17? After you had already been caught doing that to a different 17-year-old?”
(A reminder that Franco was caught back in 2014 trying to seduce a 17-year-old on Instagram).
Colbert pressed Franco about the accusations, and he pressed hard.
Franco tried his best to give the most PC answer possible: refuting the allegations while still not attacking the victims. He told Colbert,
“First of all, I have no idea what I did to Ally Sheedy. I directed her in a play Off Broadway. I had nothing but a great time with her, total respect for her. I have no idea why she was so upset. She took the tweet down. I don’t know. I can’t speak for her, I don’t know. The others, look, in my life I pride myself on taking responsibility for things that I’ve done. I have to do that to maintain my well-being. I do it whenever I know that there is something wrong or needs to be changed, I make it a point to do it. The things that I heard that were on Twitter are not accurate, but I completely support people coming out and being able to have a voice because they didn’t have a voice for so long. So, I don’t want to shut them down in any way. It’s a good thing and I support it.”
But Colbert was not letting him off the hook. He continued to ask Franco how they could agree to some truth so that the victims could get some kind of resolution in the situation.
Franco offered no such solution.
This is now the second time that Colbert has gone head-to-head with an accused sexual assaulter.
Back in November, Colbert had Ben Affleck on his show. Ben has been accused by actress Hilarie Burton (whose boob grab was caught on tape), among other women for his sexual misconduct. (It’s worth noting that Ben’s brother Casey Affleck also has numerous charges of sexual assault against him.) Ben also has close ties with Harvey Weinstein, who helped jumpstart his career.
When Colbert confronted Affleck about his relationship with Harvey Weinstein, things got… awkward. Ben tried to brush the whole thing off and joked “This is a comedy show, correct?”
To this, Colbert had the best response:
“This is a comedy show, but we also talk about the subject of the moment, what’s the national conversation about. And after the revelations, disturbing and truly horrifying revelations about what Harvey Weinstein did, do you feel because you had such a close association with him at the beginning of your career that you had to simply distance yourself from Harvey Weinstein? Because everyone ran for the exit.”
Colbert then continued to grill Affleck about his own sexual misconduct, to which Ben gave a series of lame responses and semi-apologies.
Colbert has been relentlessly confronting sexual assaulters and I’m so grateful to have an ally like him, who uses his platform to shed light on the issue. He easily could have gone the opposite route. He could have had a light conversation with James Franco and discussed the actor’s most recent project. Kudos to Colbert for refusing to let these men off the hook.
While it’s wonderful for women to use whatever agency and platform they may have to speak their truths, not all women have that luxury. That’s why we need male allies like Stephen Colbert to help the cause. By continuing the conversation and continuing to take action, we’re slowly changing what is and isn’t acceptable in society. And that’s certainly something worth celebrating.
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Lena Finkel is the Editor and Founder of Femestella. Prior to starting Femestella, she worked at People, InStyle, Tiger Beat, and Sesame Workshop (aka Sesame Street). She loves all things Real Housewives and The Challenge. When she’s not busy binge-watching TV, you can find her taking an absurd amount of photos of her tuxedo cat Tom.