James Franco was digitally removed from “Vanity Fair’s” Hollywood cover, and it’s the right decision

Vanity Fair published its annual Hollywood Portfolio issue, and the cover image, featuring mega-stars like Oprah Winfrey, Gal Gadot, Michael B. Jordan, and Tom Hanks, is stunning. But apparently, Vanity Fair initially intended to add another familiar face to the spread: James Franco.

It makes sense that VF previously wanted to include James Franco on the Hollywood cover, which Annie Leibovitz shot back in November. Franco was nominated and recently won a Golden Globe for his work in The Disaster Artist and, for all intents and purposes, 2018 seemed like a big year for him. Then, mere days after the 2018 Golden Globes, five women came forward with allegations of inappropriate and sexually exploitative behavior against Franco.

Vanity Fair acted quickly once the allegations surfaced…and made the right decision.

As a spokesperson for the magazine told The Hollywood Reporter, "We made a decision not to include James Franco on the Hollywood cover once we learned of the misconduct allegations against him."

As you can see in the final cover, the magazine pulled off the last-minute change. The spread looks beautiful, and apart from some Photoshop trouble, it’s a nice piece of modern Hollywood.

Making the major edit must have been difficult to pull off.

It might not seem like a huge deal to remove someone from a picture. At some point or another, we’ve all Photoshopped or cropped someone out of a photo, right? However, by removing Franco from a cover that is meant to depict “extraordinary stars” and “a momentous year,” a powerful message is sent.

Too often have abusers been given a huge platform, power, and zero consequences while their victims are silenced. It’s nice to see the shift in Hollywood (and the country at large) taking the spotlight from abusers and handing it over to their victims. This Vanity Fair cover is one more piece of evidence that things are starting to change.