James Franco Thought Michael Fassbender’s ‘Shame’ Was Offensive to the Gay Community

Shame is one of Michael Fassbender’s most iconic, and also controversial movies. The film saw the actor collaborate with Oscar-winning director Steve McQueen, and followed a sex addict whose life is spiraling out of control due to his addiction. Because of its subject matter, Shame contains many graphic scenes that resulted in both its fair share of criticism and praise from critics.

One critic in James Franco, however, blasted the film for what he saw as a poor representation of the gay community.

Why James Franco Believes ‘Shame’ is Offensive to The Gay Community

James Franco smiling in a suit.
James Franco | Taylor Hill/WireImage

Before he disappeared from Hollywood, Franco operated as a film critic as well as a movie star. The actor was once inspired to pen a review for McQueen’s Oscar-winning 12 Years a Slave for Vice. In his review, he showered both McQueen and Fassbender with praise for their work. He also decided to voice his opinion on McQueen and Fassbender’s preceding movie, Shame.

In his review, Franco criticized the film’s depiction of the gay community. In Shame, Fassbender’s character pays a visit to a gay club, where sexual acts are being performed. But Franco took issue with the imagery being used in the scene.

“It’s depicted like the seventh level of hell,” Franco wrote according to Indiewire. “I mean, it goes back to the horrible representation of gays in the 70s, where the gay club is meant to signify everything dark and depraved.”

He also criticized the film’s take on sex and addiction. Not necessarily because of the film’s more graphic scenes, but because Franco doesn’t agree that what was presented in the film could constitute as an addiction.

“He wasn’t such an addict in my opinion, though,” Franco said. “I mean, what did he do? Watch porn and screw a handful of people a week? I could point to quite a few folks who do that.”

Ironically, one of the reasons Franco hasn’t been seen as much lately is due to sexual misconduct allegations that he took advantage of women.

What happened to James Franco?

Franco has rarely been seen since allegations emerged that he took advantage of aspiring Hollywood actors. According to the Los Angeles Times, five women had accused The Disaster Artist star of misconduct. He was specifically targeted by former students of his who looked toward Franco for guidance.

One of his students claimed there was an incident where Franco wanted his students to take off their shirts. When they didn’t comply, Franco stormed off the set.

“I felt like I was selected for something based on my hard work and my merit,” Hilary Dusome said, who was a former student of Franco’s. “I don’t think he started teaching with bad intentions, but he went down a bad path and damaged a lot of people in the process.”

“He just took advantage of our eagerness to work and be a part of something bigger,” another student chimed in. “We were all these up-and-coming actors who were so hopeful.”

James Franco eventually settled out of court for allegations

For his alleged misconduct, Franco ended up settling the lawsuit for $2.2 million, which the LA Times reported he paid to accusers Sarah Tither-Kaplan and Toni Gaal.

Although they settled the charges, it seems that Hollywood is still keeping its distance from Franco at the moment. Recently, even his own frequent collaborator, Seth Rogen, shared he doesn’t plan on working with the actor ever again.

Busy Phillips had also claimed that Franco created uncomfortable situations around them. Philips wrote how Franco knocked the wind out of her on the set of the show, Freaks & Geeks. These claims furthered the gap between Franco and Hollywood.

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