When Vanity Fair unveiled the cover for its highly anticipated, annual Hollywood issue on Thursday, many took note of the fact that Reese Witherspoon appeared to have three legs due to what some called a "Photoshop" error. But that wasn't the only digital alteration the cover underwent.
The cover includes an array of celebrities ranging from Oprah to Michael B. Jordan to Tom Hanks. "12 Extraordinary Stars, One Momentous Year," reads the caption. It was originally set to feature 13 celebrities, but at the last minute, the magazine chose to digitally remove actor James Franco from the spread.
12 extraordinary stars, one very momentous year—the 2018 Hollywood portfolio is here. In the quarter-century since Vanity Fair launched the Hollywood Issue, show business has changed in fundamental ways, as have magazines—but a star-studded, foldout cover remains a surefire thrill. Get a closer look at the cover, also featuring our very own Graydon Carter, at the link in bio. Photograph by Annie Leibovitz.
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"We made a decision not to include James Franco on the Hollywood cover once we learned of the misconduct allegations against him," a Vanity Fair spokesperson told the Hollywood Reporter.
At least five women have accused Franco of sexual misconduct.
Several sources told the Hollywood Reporter that Franco sat for the photo shoot conducted by Annie Leibovitz. The celebrities for the cover, which include Oprah Winfrey, Michael B. Jordan and Tom Hanks, are shot in small groups. Those images are later digitally combined into a larger image, meaning the decision to remove Franco did not require a reshoot.
Vanity Fair has published its Hollywood issue annually since 1995. One of the highlights of the issue each year is its star-studded covers, which range from lush to comic to provocative. The magazine said the "Hollywood Issue can be judged by its covers: artful, innovative, prescient."
Franco's star has quickly fallen ever since the Golden Globe Awards on Jan. 7, where he won "best actor in a musical or comedy" for his role in "The Disaster Artist" as real-life director Tommy Wiseau. What should have been a moment of celebration for the actor quickly shifted as several women took to Twitter and accused him of hypocrisy for wearing a pin in support of the anti-sexual harassment organization Time's Up.
"Cute #TIMESUP pin James Franco," tweeted actress Violet Paley. "Remember the time you pushed my head down in a car towards your exposed penis & that other time you told my friend to come to your hotel when she was 17? After you had already been caught doing that to a different 17 year old?"
"Hey James Franco, nice #timesup pin at the #GoldenGlobes, remember a few weeks ago when you told me the full nudity you had me do in two of your movies for $100/day wasn't exploitative because I signed a contract to do it?" tweeted actress and filmmaker Sarah Tither-Kaplan. "Times up on that!"
The following week, late-night hosts Seth Meyers and Stephen Colbert questioned Franco about the allegations during interviews on their respective shows. Franco continued to deny them, telling Colbert, "The things that I heard that were on Twitter are not accurate, but I completely support people coming out and being able to have a voice because they didn't have a voice for so long."
Then the Los Angeles Times published a story on Jan. 11 detailing the allegations against him, which included using his position as an acting teacher and director to coerce women into removing their clothes and performing oral sex on him. He continued to deny these allegations.
Franco has remained fairly quiet since then, skipping the Critics' Choice Awards even though he won for best comedy actor.
He failed to garner an Oscar nomination for his role in "The Disaster Artist." Many film critics had expected him to get a nod in the best actor category, according to the Hollywood Reporter.