Franco has been “premiering” the series of nude paintings, which he based on Schulz’s drawings, as part of an ongoing “gay sex art project” with Seth Rogen. He says he feels no shame in blatantly plagiarizing another artist’s work because he’s more famous than this other artist, you see:
“Some other artist took it upon himself to do these sketches of Seth in the nude. Seth didn’t pose for them. But this artist depicted Seth, and he wouldn’t have gotten much attention for these sketches, except that he put Seth’s face on it. And so I felt like, oh here he is appropriating Seth’s personality and his persona for his art to get attention for his art, and I thought, well, if anybody should paint Seth naked, it should be me, so I took his sketches and did paintings.”
Throughout the whole segment, Franco fails to mention Christopher Schulz. The world’s most noted and misunderstood poet, playwright, actor, selfie king, now the world’s hottest thief.
And once for the legal team, plagiarism is defined as “the ‘wrongful appropriation’ and ‘stealing and publication’ of another author’s ‘language, thoughts, ideas, or expressions’ and the representation of them as one’s own original work.”
Though his Facebook page is set as “private,” Gawker’s Rich Juzwiak notes that Schulz posted a response to Franco’s interview shortly after it aired:
Just as I co-opt common culture, Franco is co-opting queer culture. I made the Seth drawings to undermine the way celebrity archetypes are coded (hence the Seventeen magazine logo font on the book cover). I wanted to portray Seth as a sex symbol in a way that other sex symbols can’t compare. After all, who else has inspired a book like mine? Franco missed the opportunity to take my concept further by inviting Seth to pose for new original paintings. He says “if anybody should paint Seth naked, it should be me” but he didn’t paint Seth naked, he painted my imagination of Seth naked.
James Franco, famous copycat. We don’t think he should lose his career over this, but if he does, we know a few thirsty LGBT blogs he can work for.