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OTRC: James Franco jokes about almost-nude Instagram selfie, on 'Late Show'

James Franco appears in an almost-nude Instagram selfie, posted on May 1 and then deleted. / James Franco talks about the photo in an interview on CBS' 'The Late Show with David Letterman' on May 8, 2014. (instagram.com/jamesfrancotv / CBS / Worldwide Pants Inc.)

James Franco is maintaining his sense of humor after raising eyebrows over another Instagram incident -- the recent posting of an almost-nude selfie.

The 36-year-old Oscar-nominated actor, who had made headlines last month over a suggestive dialogue with an underage girl on the social media outlet, talked about his NSFW photo in an interview on "The Late Show with David Letterman" on an episode that aired on Thursday, May 8.

"James, honest to God, why?" Letterman asked, after the picture, which shows the actor wearing underwear and covering the exposed front part with his hand, was displayed onscreen.

"Alright, now there's a lot to say about that," Franco said. "It's not like I'm putting that on billboards. Ostensibly, Instagram is for my fans. But now, all the bloggers are following me on there, so they'll just take it and use my images for whatever they want."

Letterman said the picture was "provocative," to which the actor responded, smiling: "I didn't ask you to look at it! It's what the people want!"

The picture was posted on Franco's Instagram page, which currently has more than 2 million followers, on May 1. It has since been deleted.

James Franco talks Instagram flirting incident, selfies

Franco is currently promoting his newest movie, "Palo Alto," in which his character becomes involved with an underage girl. The actor made headlines weeks ago over a leaked leaked, flirtatious conversation with a 17-year-old Scottish girl on Instagram after meeting her outside the stage door of the Broadway play "Of Mice and Men." He is playing George.

He later talked about it on the syndicated talk show "Live with Kelly and Michael," saying he was "embarrassed.". On the X-rated "Howard Stern Show" on SIRIUS XM Radio, he said: "Meeting people is so awkward in just whatever circumstance you're in."

"Dude! Every celebrity does it!" he said. "Men and women. I've been on so many movies where this happens, so it's not like I'm the jerk celebrity that's like, reaching out to a fan for, you know, some intimacy or something. Like, everybody does it! Oscar winners that I know! Men and women. Men and women."

He also said he was "a little obsessed" with Instagram and explained why he liked to post selfies.

"What I've found is you do something, like you do this show or whatever, you see what people respond to. You know what they want," he said. "Now, as an artist or creative person or whatever -- and it'll vary how artistic you wanna get, from medium to medium, but you then say, 'OK, do I want to give them all of what they want or do I want to put a little love, you know, my art in there and maybe they won't exactly like this or push some buttons but this is my art show."

"There's a balance of giving them what they want or knowing what sells," he said.

In December, Franco penned a column in the New York Times titled "The Meanings of the Selfie," in which he stated that he had "learned that the selfie is one of the most popular ways to post ? and garner the most likes from followers."

"I've found that Instagram works much like the movie business: You're safe if you trade 'one for them' with 'one for yourself,' meaning for every photo of a book, painting or poem, I try to post a selfie with a puppy, a topless selfie or a selfie with Seth Rogen, because these are all things that are generally liked," he said.

Rogen, who co-starred with Franco in "Freaks and Geeks," "Pineapple Express" and "This Is The End," recently poked fun at the actor on "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon" -- in drag. (Watch the video here).

(Pictured above: James Franco appears in a censored version of his almost-nude Instagram selfie, posted on May 1 and then deleted. / James Franco talks about the photo in an interview on CBS' "The Late Show with David Letterman" on May 8, 2014. Credit: James Franco's Instagram page / CBS / Worldwide Pants Inc.

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