Lucy Clode, 17, met Franco during her visit to New York after seeing Of Mice and Men on Broadway. The Spring Breakers actor is currently starring in the play with Chris O'Dowd.
Apparently, Clode was one of many Franco fans to swarm the show's stage door for a chance to see the actor. The teen managed to get a photo and Instagram video of Franco, in which he can be heard telling the girl to tag him in the clip. Clode followed Franco's suggestion, tagging the actor and posting the video to her account.
According to Gawker, shortly after Clode uploaded her footage and photos to Instagram, Franco began following her on the social network. He then sent her a flurry of direct messages, reportedly asking if she was 18, whether she had a boyfriend and if she lived in New York.
The 17-year-old responded, informing Franco she was visiting New York City with her mom as a gift for her upcoming 18th birthday, and then swapped phone numbers with the star. The messages then switched to text, where Franco reportedly continued to press Clode for personal details and a private meet-up.
"You're single? What's the hotel? Should I rent a room?" Franco allegedly questions in the texts.
Before giving an answer, Clode wanted proof her conversation partner was really Franco, asking for a photo of the actor holding a piece of paper with her name. The actor delivered the shot, after which the exchange appears to end.
Clode shared her conversation with the star online, putting it in an imgur gallery. The screenshots of her chat have since been removed, but not before curious Web users found the story.
Franco has since been bombarded on Twitter and Instagram about his interest in underage girls. The actor cryptically fired back through social media, telling parents to watch their kids' activity online.
I'M NOT! I HOPE PARENTS KEEP THEIR TEENS AWAY FROM ME. Thank you http://t.co/I1d4n3yVe0— James Franco (@JamesFrancoTV) April 2, 2014
There's been Internet chatter speculating the story may be a publicity stunt for his upcoming film Palo Alto (co-starring Emma Roberts), about a soccer coach's affair with his teenage babysitter. However, Franco appeared on Live with Kelly and Michael Friday morning and addressed the incident.
"I'm embarrassed and I guess I'm just a model of how social media is tricky," said Franco. "It's a way people meet each other today, but what I've learned ... you don't know who's on the other end. You meet somebody in person and you get a feel for them, but you don't know who you're talking to. So, I used bad judgment and I learned my lesson."
Abaca; Invision / AP; Inset: Splash News Online