James Franco Explains His Nude Selfie to Letterman, Compares Photo to Britney Spears (VIDEO)

05/09/2014 AT 03:15 PM EDT

It might be time for James Franco to take a social-media hiatus. The Palo Alto actor went on the Late Show with David Letterman to explain the motive behind his most recent controversial Instagram move.

Days after posting a picture of himself cuddling up to Pretty Little Liars star Keegan Allen, Franco uploaded a nearly nude selfie to his Instagram account. The unexpected muse behind this bold snap? Britney Spears.

"Like that Britney Spears shaved-head moment, where it's sort of like, 'All right, you want me? Here, you can have me, but I am going to be really ugly.' You know what I mean?" Franco said to Letterman about the attitude behind the now-infamous shot.

The audience responded with laughter, but the 36-year-old insisted he was serious. Franco's barely-there photo was later removed from his Instagram, but not before many of his 2 million followers saw the selfie.

Watch Franco's full explanation to Letterman below.

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