He found a safe space to hide in, and now he’s never coming out.
During a recent interview with Vulture, Seth Rogen spoke at length about everything from his teenage sense of humour, to the alleged North Korean Sony hack – but it was his answers to questions about the #metoo movement and James Franco that proved most interesting.
It comes as no surprise that Rogen and Franco are the closest of pals.
The two have worked together since 1999 when they both appeared in Freaks and Geeks as best friends and high school misfits.
James Franco and Seth Rogen pic.twitter.com/yNMX7kQtzf
— Lost In History (@HistoryToLearn) April 29, 2018
Since then, they’ve starred in more than five movies together including Pineapple Express, The Interview and This Is The End.
Oh, and that really disturbing (yet legitimately funny) Kanye “Bound 2” video parody.
When Vulture journalist, David Marchese, probed Rogen about the recent allegations against Franco (he wore a Time’s Up pin to the Golden Globes before being accused of sexual misconduct by five women and then later skipped the Oscars after all the backlash), Rogen played the safe card.
He cleverly turned the Franco question around to make it about his own role (or lack thereof) in the #metoo movement.
“The truth is that my perspective on this is the least relevant perspective. I’m friends with these people and I’m a dude. All that combined makes me the last person who should be talking about this.”
Hmm… let’s break this down for a second.
“The truth is that my perspective on this is the least relevant perspective.”
Not true. Rogen’s perspective is actually pretty important because he has known Franco personally and professionally for nearly 20 years.
In this instance, Rogen as a writer, producer, and actor within the Hollywood community, has the opportunity to put an end to the unspoken bro-code that sees men accepting the inappropriate behaviour of their male peers because you know, that’s just what you do for a mate.
“I’m friends with these people and I’m a dude. All that combined makes me the last person who should be talking about this.”
Again, being a guy with a bit of clout in the industry means Rogen can use what influence he has to try and facilitate change from within and set a new precedent when it comes to toxic bro circles.
Why is all the work and responsibility to sort things out always placed on women? We should be working together, because this isn’t just a women’s problem that should be given to women to fix.
We need men and women with the guts to stand up for what’s right to understand the movement and work on ensuring these incidents never happen again.
Just because Rogen is friends with Franco doesn’t mean his opinion is invalid (regardless of what side of the fence he’s sitting on) – that’s just Rogen trying to squirm his way out of answering the question truthfully, because I think deep down he knows the truth, and he just doesn’t want to admit it.
It’s an unfortunate fact of the world that sometimes our friends cross a line, and yes, it really sucks, but it doesn’t change the fact that there’s a good chance they’ve probably done some sh*tty things that they need to be called on.
Why do we continue to make excuses for our mates? Why don’t we accept they might not be the people we want them to be?
It’s OK to tell them to do better!
Rogen’s lacklustre response to Marchese’s questions is his way of essentially saying he’ll back his mates no matter what, so don’t bother asking about it because he’s not going to give you the answer you want. He’s going to give you the safe and sanitised answer.
It’s problematic when men like Rogen don’t decide to make a stand because they’d rather look out for a friend than do what’s right.
This places all the responsibility on victims to speak out. Victims who are already dealing with trauma, and are no doubt being ridiculed by faceless individuals all across the Internet who believe they’re doing it for attention.
Rogen had an opportunity to step up, and he didn’t.
I'd call that a smart cop-out, if such a thing can exist.
— Max Weiss (@maxthegirl) April 30, 2018
When Marchese later asked Rogen whether he’d continue to work with Franco, he responded with one word, “yes”.
In a last-ditch attempt to get some kind of insightful statement regarding Rogen’s position on the matter, Rogen simply added, “There are so many people with real things to contribute to the #MeToo discussion that anything I say is not going to add anything useful.”
Well, being extremely good friends with someone who has been accused of sexual misconduct by five separate women feels like you might be in a position to have an actual opinion on the matter, Seth.
If you’re being asked to answer a question like this – why not put a bit of effort into crafting a response that does positively contribute to the #metoo discussion?
Rogen’s lacklustre response passes the buck onto the next person. He’s been thrown the hot potato and instead of taking time to let it cool in his hands, he’s thrown it up in the air and left it for someone else to catch.
Of course Rogen is entirely entitled to say and do whatever he wants when questioned by the media about these matters, but the intended outcome of his answers in this interview appear to be one that absolves him of any responsibility.
It’s also a quiet nod to all future journalists considering asking him about Franco down the line.
By ignoring the opportunity to contribute to an ongoing conversation around accountability, Rogen has done what he can to land in the safety of the middle.
His vague response only serves one person’s best interests, and that’s his own.