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Scarlett Johansson shames James Franco for alleged sexual misconduct in defiant speech

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Kayleigh Dray
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Scarlett Johansson delivered a powerful speech at the Women’s March in Los Angeles, during which she publicly called out James Franco for wearing a Time’s Up pin at the Golden Globes.

James Franco, like many Golden Globes attendees, wore a Time’s Up pin to the awards show on 8 January.

However, his decision to wear the pin prompted five women to come forward with accusations of sexual misconduct – a fact which Scarlett Johansson was keen to underline during her powerful speech at the Los Angeles Women’s March on Saturday (20 Jan).

“My mind baffles,” she said, speaking to the estimated 500,000 protestors gathered before her. 

“How can a person publicly stand by an organisation that helps provide support for victims of sexual assault while privately preying on people who have no power?”

Then, seemingly addressing Franco directly, Johansson added: “I want my pin back, by the way.”

While Johansson did not name Franco in her speech, her reps later confirmed to The Los Angeles Times that she was speaking about the actor.

Johansson went on to praise the #MeToo movement for bringing hope of equality, and explained how the Harvey Weinstein revelations caused her to reevaluate how she had been treated as a young actress.

“As the rage settled in it gave way to other feelings,” she said. “Sadness and, unexpectedly, guilt and grieving.

“Suddenly I was 19 again and I started to remember all the men I’d known who took advantage of the fact I was a young woman who didn’t yet have the tools to say no.”

Many of her relationships, both personal and professional, had power dynamics “so off” that she let herself be “degraded”, added Johansson.

“I stand before you as someone who is empowered not only by the curiosity about myself and by the active choices that I’m finally able to make and stand by, but by the brightness of this movement, the strength and the unity that this movement has provided,” she said.

“It gives me hope that we are moving toward a place where our sense of equality can truly come from within ourselves.”

Franco has yet to address Johansson’s speech directly: however, speaking through a lawyer, the actor has denied all the accusations against him, insisting that they are “not accurate”.

And, during a recent interview with Stephen Colbert, Franco added that, if his actions have unintentionally made someone feel uncomfortable or violated, he “will fix it”.

“I can’t live if there’s restitution to be made. If I’ve done something wrong, I will fix it. I have to. I don’t know what else to do.

“As far as the bigger issue of how we do it, I really don’t have the answers. I think the point of this whole thing is that we listen. I’m here to listen and learn and change my perspective where it’s off. I’m completely willing and want to.”

If you have experienced sexual harassment or assault, it’s not your fault and you are not alone. You can find practical advice about tackling harassment in the workplace by visiting the Citizen’s Advice Bureau website, or calling the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s Equality Advisory and Support Service on 0808 800 0082.

If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, Victim Support and Rape Crisis provide support and resources. You can also call the RASAC (Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Centre) national helpline on 0800 0288 022.

Images: Rex Features

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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is editor of Stylist.co.uk, where she chases after rogue apostrophes and specialises in films, comic books, feminism and television. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends. 

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