Bleats

David Simon's Excuse For Not Firing James Franco From 'The Deuce' Over MeToo Allegations Is Weak

Talk about completely missing the point.

Following the sexual misconduct allegations levelled at James Franco, one of the more curious consequences of this MeToo moment was the lack of consequences. Specifically, the actor was still allowed to keep his job on David Simon’s acclaimed TV show, The Deuce, despite all the horrible claims made against him.

Simon has now spoke out about why he didn’t fire Franco from The Deuce and his response was, well, it was piss weak to put it lightly.

In an interview with Alan Sepinwall from Rolling Stone, Simon was asked about the allegations made against James Franco and how he was still able to keep making The Deuce under the MeToo cloud given how the show tackles similar issues of which the actor is accused, and his tone-deaf reply was a mix of indignant defence, projection and just not understanding the issue at hand.

Regarding the sexual misconduct allegations, Simon essentially tried to downplay them by saying that Franco didn’t use his position to “have sex with anyone” unlike men like Harvey Weinstein or Les Moonves.

“The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone.”

Okay sure, but just because Franco wasn’t going around forcing people for sex doesn’t mean harassment and misconduct wasn’t happening. It’s pretty ironic that the creator of The Deuce, a show about porn and all the seedy stuff that goes on with it, doesn’t understand that you can commit sexual harassment without sex and/or assault coming into it.

David Simon didn’t stop at that hot take as he continued to dig his way deeper by going after the L.A. Times piece that broke the allegations made against Franco, insinuating the publication “purposely muddled” things.

He said the publication didn’t have “real, solid, fundamental journalism, about real offenders [Harvey Weinstein and Les Moonves] who were using their positions to obtain sex, and misusing women in that fundamental way” that The New Yorker and The New York Times had by comparison and basically stated Franco’s allegations became lumped in with the bigger ones of the larger MeToo umbrella rather than be portrayed as what they are.

For a man whose career is based in journalism, it’s incredibly disappointing to hear him disregard important reporting by the L.A. Time so flippantly, all while not completely understanding the problem at hand.

Even his attempts at trying not to diminish the voices of the women who spoke out against James Franco comes off pretty poorly as he essentially undermines their claims before blaming the media for not distinguishing Franco’s allegations from other the MeToo abusers.

“I’ve been very careful about saying what these young actors and actresses were concerned about, and where their unhappiness lies is meaningful. I’m not saying there isn’t a story there, but the proportionality got lost.”

The entire interview is a rollercoaster read that’s not easily digested but it is worth at least a look as it is a perfect example of how some people simply don’t “get” the problem, especially when they’re a successful, white man in Hollywood. If you needed an example of digging yourself a hole, well, David Simon just provided one.

Simpsons dig up stupid

Ultimately, the whole thing reeks of a man who was so singularly focused on his TV show that he was willing to put it above the safety and concerns of women, and all these allegations are detracting from the “vision” wanted to convey in on The Deuce.

David Simon has since come out in defence of his comments to Rolling Stone and they’re just as flippant and tone-deaf as the interview itself:

Sounds like you need another two years of reflection and listening on the issues at hand, David, because it’s pretty clear you still don’t get it.

Never Forget When The Office Poked Fun At Mental Health And Suicide For Halloween

How the joke made the cut in the first place is truly baffling.

Let’s be honest, Michael Scott is a pretty awful person. Sure he may have his moments during his time on The Office but the negatives far outweigh the good, which makes you wonder what was going through the writers’ heads. Case in point: The writers thought it was a good idea to make a Halloween joke about mental health by having Michael pretend to commit suicide in front of a group of kids.

Yeah.

At the TV show‘s sixth season Halloween episode, ‘Koi Pond’, the Dunder Mifflin warehouse is transformed into a haunted house for children. It was all going well until Michael decided to go full “Michael Scott” and ruined it for everyone by pretending to commit suicide by hanging as a way to scare the kids while also educating them about mental health.

It’s so cringeworthy and inappropriate that you immediately forget some genuinely funny bits in the scene, such as Michael is wearing a then-already-outdated “Dick In A Box” Halloween costume, Creed dressed as a hustling vampire who wants to sell the childrens’ blood and Jim with the word “book” written on his face.

Having said that, there’s a chance you may have forgotten or missed the scene entirely. When ‘Koi Pond’ first aired, audiences weren’t particularly comfortable seeing Michael Scott fake-hang himself on a family-friendly show like The Office (unsurprisingly) and NBC quickly pulled the scene from reruns and DVD releases.

According to The AV Club, an anonymous producer said it wasn’t just public outcry over the scene that caused it to be cut. Apparently Caryn Zucker, the wife of then-president and CEO of NBC Universal Jeff Zucker, also urged her husband to cut the scene due to her work in suicide prevention.

Yet as you saw above, the cut scene was later uploaded in its entirety onto YouTube, where it’ll forever live as weird yet controversial relic from a show that hasn’t aged as well as many people think.

Given how its been over a decade since the ‘Koi Pond’ aired, it’ll be interesting to hear the cast and crew from The Office share their thoughts on the scene and how it somehow managed to get through the writer’s room and onto everyone’s TV screens (briefly).

Here’s hoping Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey talk about it on their podcast at some point and maybe share their thoughts on how Michael Scott is actually a problematic mess.

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