Scarlett Johansson Calls Out James Franco at Women's March: 'I Want My Pin Back'
"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?" said Scarlett Johansson
Scarlett Johansson called out James Franco for standing behind the Time’s Up movement in public while allegedly “privately preying on people who have no power” during her speech at the Women’s March in Los Angeles on Saturday.
“In light of the recent revelations regarding abuse of power, and sexual harassment, and the question of consent versus coercion, I find myself pensive, taking time, and digging deep to understand where we are, and how we got here. My mind baffles,” the 33-year-old actress — who has been a supporter of Time’s Up since the beginning — said at the beginning of her speech.
“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?” she continued, before adding, “I want my pin back, by the way.”
A rep for the actress confirmed to PEOPLE that Johansson was referring to Franco in her speech.
Shortly after Franco was spotted wearing a Time’s Up pin at the Golden Globe Awards, sexual harassment allegations were made against the actor by a number of women on Twitter, including actress Violet Paley.
A few days later, in an article published in the Los Angeles Times, five women accused the actor of abusing his power as an acting teacher and mentor in a sexually exploitative manner.
Additionally, Paley recounted her previous social media claims that Franco exposed himself and tried to pressure her into oral sex.
Franco’s attorney, Michael Plonsker, denied each of the women’s allegations, and cited Franco’s comments on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert as his formal denial.
“Look, in my life I pride myself on taking responsibility for things that I have done,” Franco told Colbert. “I have to do that to maintain my well being. 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.”
Despite the allegations, PEOPLE previously confirmed that Franco will still attend the Screen Actors Guild Awards on Sunday, where he is nominated for Best Actor.
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In her speech, Johansson also addressed her past history of “being taken advantage of” by men.
Sharing the range of emotions she has experienced over the past few months, the actress said, “Suddenly, I was 19 again, and I started to remember all the men I’d known that had taken advantage of the fact that I was a young women who didn’t yet have the tools to say no, or understand the value of my own self worth.”
“I’ve had many relationships, both personal and professional, where the power dynamic was so off that I had to create a narrative in which I was the cool girl who could hang in and hangout, and that sometimes meant compromising what felt right for me, and that seemed okay,” she continued. “Compromising my voice, and therefore allowing myself to be unseen, and degraded, whether it was intended by the other party or not, because it allowed me to have the approval that women are conditioned to need.”
To donate to the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund, which will provide subsidized legal support to women and men in all industries who have experienced sexual harassment, assault, or abuse in the workplace, visit its GoFundMe page. Learn more about Time’s Up, an organization of women in entertainment combating sexual harassment and inequality, on its website.
Concluding, Johansson said, “I want to move forward, and for me, moving forward means my daughter growing up in a world where she doesn’t have to be a victim of what has cruelly become the social norm. That she doesn’t have to fit into the bindings of the female condition. Time’s Up on the female condition. Gender equality can’t just exist outside ourselves. It must exist within.”