James Franco has broken his silence about a recent report that said he flirted with a 17-year-old Scottish girl on Instagram, saying that he is "embarrassed" and "used bad judgment."
The 35-year-old actor made his comments on the syndicated morning show "LIVE with Kelly and Michael" on Friday, April 4, two days after the reported exchange, which went viral. The news also comes ahead of the release of his new movie "Palo Alto," which shows his character romancing an underage girl. The film is set for release in May -- the same month the Scottish teen, named Lucy Clode, turns 18.
"Uh, you know I'm embarrassed and I guess I'm just a model of how social media is tricky," Franco said on "LIVE with Kelly and Michael. "It's a way people meet each other today. But what I've learned, I guess just 'cause I'm new to it, is like, you don't know who's on the other end -- you meet somebody in person and you get a feel for 'em but you don't know who you're talking to. So I used bad judgment and I learned my lesson."
"Unfortunately, in my position -- I mean, I have a very good life -- but not only do I have to go through the embarrassing kind of rituals of meeting someone, sometimes if I do that, then it gets, you know, published for the world, so now it's like, doubly embarrassing," he added.
"Well, I think the way you came out here and you handled it is perfectly acceptable. It happens to everybody and I think it happens to movie stars on a much grander scale, like you just said, because everybody knows who you are," co-host Kelly Ripa said, joking: "And I promise I will not reveal our text messages."
Co-host Michael Strahan added: "I always think honesty and not avoiding anything is always the best policy and we appreciate that."
Franco had met the girl outside the stage door of the Broadway show "Of Mice and Men," which stars Franco, Chris O'Dowd and "Gossip Girl" alum Leighton Meester. She was on a trip to New York, where the legal age of consent is 17. Clode posted an Instagram video of him, in which he tells her, "You gotta tag me.
She later shared screenshots of what appeared to be an Instagram chat and he asked her for her name and age and inquired if she was single, adding: "Should I rent a room?" The screenshots show that she told him she was "nearly 18" that her birthday was in May. She asked Franco to prove his identity. He sent her two pictures of himself, including one that shows him holding up a handwritten sign that reads, "Lucy." The girl's social media accounts have since been deleted.
Watch a VIDEO of James Franco reacting to the controversy below.