New York Times Critic Ben Brantley Responds to James Franco's Instagram Rant

By Adam Hetrick
18 Apr 2014

In an April 18 interview with the New York Observer, New York Times critic Ben Brantley responded to an Instagram post by Of Mice and Men star James Franco, in which the actor took the critic to task for his review of the revival of the John Steinbeck classic.



Of Mice and Men officially opened on Broadway April 16 to strong critical notices; however, Brantley responded coolly to the production in his Times review.

Shortly after reviews were published, Franco took to Instagram to share Marilyn Stasio's rave in Variety. In a comment below his post, Franco called Brantley several names, including "a little bitch," and suggested that the veteran Times critic work for Gawker.com.

Franco's comment was taken down, but not before Vanity Fair columnist Richard Lawson was able to take a screen grab of the post.

 

 

Brantley responded to Franco's post in an interview with the New York Observer today. "I like Franco’s work on film a lot," he said, "and he didn’t disgrace himself on stage. I hope he returns to Broadway some day. And of course he’s entitled to say whatever he likes about me, as long as it’s not libelous, and somehow I don’t think 'little bitch' qualifies."

Franco isn't the first Broadway actor to go public with their own opinions of critics' reviews. Alec Baldwin, unhappy with how his play Orphans had been treated by the Times, shared his feelings with The Huffington Post last year.

Read the Playbill feature When Artists Attack: Does Criticizing the Critic Ever Work?