Let’s Stop Saying James Franco Was “Snubbed”
This morning, we woke up to this year’s Academy Awards nominations and saw one “favorite” left out – James Franco. Headlines and hot takes read “James Franco Snubbed by Oscars in Wake of Sexual Harassment Allegations,” “Oscars snub: James Franco shut out of nominations after sexual misconduct allegations,” or “Was James Franco’s Oscars Snub Due to the Sexual Misconduct Allegations Against Him?.” We see progress in Franco being left out (after all it was just last year that Casey Affleck WON despite persistent accusations of assault). But what does it say that we’re using the word “snub”?
The definition of “snub” is “to treat with disdain or contempt, especially by ignoring.” So why are we using this word to describe someone who has been accused of sexual assault and misconduct? Are we really “ignoring” the work of James Franco? Or are we finally listening to the women who’ve come forward? By refusing Franco the opportunity to compete, the Academy Awards is saying (except for Gary Oldman) that there is no room for someone who’s been accused of sexual assault or harassment.
In the last few months, much of the media’s coverage of sexual assault and harassment in Hollywood has been the same. Often an individual comes forward with a story of sexual assault and harassment detailing their experience. They are questioned, their character is examined, the harasser is questioned, and then only sometimes the harasser is reprimanded for their actions. After a week, the media moves on, often contributing to a culture of silence. The spotlight turns to other white men who have not been accused of sexual assault and harassment (yet) and who have also remained silent.
This is not enough. Actors and men in general must be held to a higher standard. We should not longer praise someone for simply not engaging in sexual assault or harassment. We should push the media and our culture to ask more of men and allies.
With the Oscar nominations out today, we are calling on the nominated men and presenters to use their moment at the podium to do more. At the Oscars, we’re using #AskMoreOfHim to invite men to not only join the conversation, but also become more active in the movement for equality. We’re asking them to stand up for women’s rights and end sexual harassment and violence against women. Men are capable of more. This must change. It’s time we #AskMoreOfHim.