Maggie Gyllenhaal, a feminist at her own convenience, at least for her friend James Franco

After skillfully avoiding questions about The Deuce co-star James Franco, actor Maggie Gyllenhaal came forward talking about his sexual assault allegations and they are frustrating, o say the least.

                             Maggie Gyllenhaal, a feminist at her own convenience, at least for her friend James Franco

After a year of dodging questions about it, Maggie Gyllenhaal has finally addressed sexual assault allegations against 'The Deuce' co-star James Franco. Maggie, in an interview with  SiriusXM radio, declared that all women on the set of her HBO show felt respected around Franco and that it would be unfair to end the show because of the matter of allegation - or five. She said, "We, at the time that the accusations against James came out in the LA Times, we read them all, we took them very seriously,” Gyllenhaal said, "We spoke to every woman on the crew and in the cast to find out if they felt respected and what their experience of working with James was and everyone said that they had been totally respected by him."


Maggie Gyllenhaal speaks on stage at the 2018 New Yorker Festival - Maggie Gyllenhaal In Conversation With The New Yorker's Lauren Collins on October 6, 2018 in New York City.
Maggie Gyllenhaal speaks on stage at the 2018 New Yorker Festival - Maggie Gyllenhaal In Conversation With The New Yorker's Lauren Collins on October 6, 2018 in New York City.

All five women who came out in January this year with their stories about Franco were students at the film school Franco founded. He was accused of removing protective plastic guards covering other actresses' vaginas while simulating oral sex on them. Two student actresses also recounted incidents where Franco allegedly lost his temper if they refused to go topless. Franco remained unaffected and even came out on top smiling - he was honored with an award for Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy Film for his film 'The Disaster Artist' this year. Director Ally Sheedy at the time said in a now-deleted tweet with a #MeToo hashtag, "Why is James Franco allowed in? Said too much," and, "James Franco just won. Please never ever ask me why I left the film/tv business." 

 Soon after the awards, Franco gave a very lukewarm statement about the accusations talking on the Stephen Colbert show. He said, "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, you know, shut them down in any way. It’s, I think, a good thing and I support it." Cringely similar and just as patronizing to his co-star's recent statement? Perhaps.

Just yesterday, fresh accusations against him came up and this time they were by actor Busy Phillipps.

This time around, it was of him losing control of his temper because a scene didn't go the way it was supposed to. "(Franco) grabbed both my arms and screamed in my face, 'Don't Ever Touch Me Again' and he threw me to the ground. Flat on my back. Wind knocked out of me," she said. This incident happened on the sets of 1999-2000 sitcom 'Freaks & Geeks' she said. Philipps clarified later that it was not an accusation or an allegation but a part of her experience. She also added that Franco apologized for it later. What about the five who did accuse him of harassment and who weren't popular faces like Philipps? There is no news of any apologies there. 

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I sat with the @hollywoodreporter last week to discuss my book This Will Only Hurt A Little and my new late night talk show @busytonighttv and the link is in my profile if you care to read. They initially had a clickbait headline that’s now been changed and I’m glad for that. On that note, my book is 308 pages, not one paragraph. The Franco story is used to illustrate a larger point about the way women are treated in this business and in life. There are no "allegations" and no "accusations". It's a story that I have been telling for years. James apologized. I accepted. And I still get to tell it because it fucking happened to me. Here's a quote from the Hollywood Reporter article, "In the book, you get into how James Franco was difficult to work with on the set of Freaks and Geeks. Busy: It wasn't even outrageous. At the time, 19 and with my first professional acting job, I was under the impression that this was just the way things were. James and I have talked about it over the years. At one point he apologized to me. I was always acutely aware of my expendability, and so I felt I needed to never complain, always show up on time and not be difficult. If someone else was being difficult, it was my job to be the easy one or figure out a way to soothe the situation." Sending you light and love, bbs. ❤️ Also. The pictures are REALLY PRETTY.❤️

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What's more, Gyllenhaal went on to elaborate about how she wanted the show to continue, and it shouldn't be scrapped. "To me, I thought I want to keep telling this story, I want to keep playing Candy and going deep into, like, really what it’s like from a woman’s perspective to be dealing with all the stuff that is on everybody’s minds right now. I think I would have been so sorry not to be able to keep doing that and also not to be able to watch Emily Meade, who plays Lori, keep doing that [and] to watch Dominique [Fishback], who plays Darlene, keep doing it and to watch all of these women who are creating these incredible characters that are taking it on straight on," she said, adding, "I feel like it would’ve been the wrong consequence to those accusations to shut our showdown. It would’ve been, like, the opposite of the right thing to do."

To cap it off, she added a bit of political correctness, "And yet I believe that there should be consequences for disrespecting or assaulting women. Of course, I do." 

From her statement, it is clear that Gyllenhaal is nothing but a feminist at her own convenience. Case in point, the outrage against judge Brett Michael Kavanaugh. Maggie was on top of her social media activism game when sexual assault allegations were made against him. She was also quite rigorous about showing her support to the #MeToo and Time's Up movements. She even dressed in black at the Golden Globes to show her support for the cause and calls herself a huge supporter of equality. Yet, she continues to back men like Franco. She continues to work with him. Her interview begs the question, does a show have to be canceled in the wake of these allegations or can he be simply replaced? The answer is quite obvious. 

Maggie Gyllenhaal and James Franco attend 'The Deuce' New York premiere at SVA Theater on September 7, 2017 in New York City.
Maggie Gyllenhaal and James Franco attend 'The Deuce' New York premiere at SVA Theater on September 7, 2017 in New York City.


The two have been close friends and have been spotted hugging on set and hanging out together. It appears as though to Maggie, it is only a legitimate reason to protest and take action against harassment allegations as long as they aren't friends. Her double standards are quite staggering. In an interview with Marie Claire, Maggie stressed on how much of a feminist she is. She said, "I was a part of organizing it (Time's Up). One of the things I thought was amazing about it was that all of these actresses — some of whom are much younger, some of whom are much older, many of whom are my contemporaries who most of the time are in competition with each other — joined together.

All of us in one room, many people saying very smart, interesting things. We raised money for a legal defense fund to pay for women in all sorts of industries who need legal protection. So, that’s amazing, right? And I have said and tweeted, 'I am a feminist for due process.' I hope that this energy, and this anger, and this pain, and this hopefulness can turn into something that is codified." It sounds truly uplifting, doesn't it? The same interview, however, turned into the prime example of lip service. When asked about her co-star James Franco, she dodged the question skillfully and called her feelings "complicated".

For someone who has a platform as big as she does, does this sound like someone taking a stand? Wonder what Candy, her ambitious, independent and absolutely empowering character on the 'Deuce' would say.

Disclaimer : The views expressed in this article belong to the writer and are not necessarily shared by MEAWW.