People are mad about Alison Brie’s James Franco response at the SAG Awards, but why was she asked that question in the first place?
The 2018 Screen Actors Guild Awards was an evening of actors celebrating other actors and continuing the dialogue on the #TimesUp and #MeToo movements — but there were moments when that conversation missed the mark. Namely, during the red carpet interview between E!’s Giuliana Rancic and nominated actress Alison Brie.
During the interview — instead of asking about her lead actor nomination for GLOW or her other projects— Rancic asked Brie about the numerous sexual misconduct allegations against brother-in-law, James Franco. (Brie is married to actor Dave Franco, James’s brother).
Here is how Brie responded:
Almost immediately, Twitter was torn in two by her answer.
On one side of the debate, Twitter users were upset and offended by what they saw as Brie’s dismissal of the claims against Franco — and Violet Paley, one of the women who has come forward with allegations against Franco, pointed out that Brie should not debate the accuracy of events she was not present for.
But Twitter users also had another take on the interview question, mentioning that Brie was put in an unfair position: specifically, having to answer for the dangerous behavior of a man that she can’t help being related to.
The truth of the matter is that when Brie is questioned about behaviors she has nothing to do with, she’s being held to a higher standard of accountability than Franco himself.
Despite the allegations against him, Franco also attended the SAG awards — even receiving applause when his name was mentioned in the category of Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role.
Frustratingly, it’s not uncommon for a woman to be put in a position like this. For example, during the 2016 presidential election, Hillary Clinton was intensely scrutinized by then-candidate Trump and the GOP for her husband’s past affairs and the assault allegations against him.
When we, as a society, place more responsibility on the women related to misbehaving men — rather than the men themselves — it’s tantamount to victim-blaming. Just as society is plagued by the fact that survivors of rape and sexual harassment are scrutinized more than the men who commit these crimes, there exists a phenomenon where we do the same to the women associated with those men.
We have to stop expecting women to take responsibility for indiscretions that they have no control over.
And we have to stop cutting these men slack when they’ve done nothing to answer for their behavior.
Until we are able to stop blaming women for the actions of men, we won’t be able to truly honor the messages behind the #TimesUp and #MeToo movements. Because enough is enough.