James Franco was the Grand Marshall of the Daytona 500 on Sunday, a promotional gimmick for Oz: The Great And Powerful. The Grand Marshall has four words to say:

Drivers, start your engines!

But since James Franco is pure artistry, he had to modify the introduction. Of course. Traditions don’t apply to James Franco. James Franco’s creativity will not be stifled by tradition. So instead, the Artist James Franco offered this:

Drivers, and Danica, start your engines!

Danica, of course, meaning Danica Patrick, a NASCAR driver who happens to be female. Patrick won the pole position for the race, an historic achievement. She went on to finish 8th, the highest ever for a woman at the Daytona 500...only to be patronised by James Franco.


In his defence, a few people insist that what he meant to say was “Gentleman and Danica, start your engines”, only it came out “Drivers and Danica”. Fine. But unless he wants to attach a thousand word essay on HuffPo about his intentions, release it before the start of the race, and ensure people everywhere have read it, the intention is not obvious. What’s obvious is what we heard. All we have is what we heard. We heard him separate Danica from the Drivers with his words. And the way those words were presented is, indeed, sexist.

Of course we could have avoided all this controversy if he’d just followed the f-cking program. How hard can it be to stick with the script? The command is timeless. Shut up and deliver the phrase as it is! 

Drivers, start your engines.

The end.

But oh no, it was too much for James Franco’s ego to sit down for a minute and not rub itself in our faces. Vanity, then, is what gets James Franco in trouble, as vanity always does.

By the way, he’s blonde now. I hate myself for not hating it.