The social-media buzz surrounding
The post has been deleted, but screen shots of it on various blogs seem to show Franco calling Ben Brantley of the New York Times an "idiot" and another insulting term that won't be repeated here. The post is attributed to the account "jamesfrancotv," which is the actor's actual Instagram profile.
Whether Franco was actually behind the post remains unclear. Brantley gave "Of Mice and Men" a negative review ("feels about as fluid as a diorama in a history museum") and had little nice to say about Franco ("a tight, internal performance begging for a camera's close-up").
The screen shot of the Instagram post shows the message: "Sadly Ben Brantley and the NYT have embarassed [sic] themselves. Brantley is such a [expletive] he should be working for Gawker.com instead of the paper of record. The theater community hates him, and for good reason, he's an idiot."
Given Franco's social media history, there's a possibility that the whole thing is a joke, or perhaps the latest installment in the actor's never-ending performance-art piece.
The tantrum wouldn't be the first time that a journalist has been targeted after a negative review or coverage. Some recent examples:
Judi Dench: Reacting to a pan of her performance in Yukio Mishima's "Madame de Sade," the actress wrote a letter to critic Charles Spencer of Britain's Daily Telegraph: "I've always rather admired you but now realize you're an absolute [expletive]," she wrote.
Neil LaBute: The combative playwright is known for leaving online comments on articles written about him. After a negative review of his play "Reasons to Be Happy" ran in Time Out New York, he penned a rejoinder contesting some of the critic's conclusions and ended with the barb: "Keep enjoying the free tickets while they last."