James Franco, the self-absorbed actor who penned a poem for President Barack Obama’s inauguration, took what many believed to be a sexist dig at female NASCAR driver Danica Patrick before the start of Sunday’s Daytona 500.
Franco, as the honorary starter, was supposed to utter “gentlemen, start your engines,” described as “the most famous words in sports” before the Daytona 500. Instead, Franco said, “Drivers … and Danica … start your engines!”
Patrick has raced in NASCAR races before, and honorary starters have often said, “gentlemen and lady, start your engines” or “lady and gentlemen, start your engines” to mark the beginning of the race.
Franco’s comments can easily be interpreted to have been a dig at Patrick, implying she was not a “driver” like the men. Conservatives would never even be given the benefit of the doubt. But because Franco is a part of the liberal Hollywood elite, the “war on women” crowd will unlikely punish him for his remarks or reprimand him for a bad attempt at humor. His comments can be seen below. NASCAR reporter Jenna Fryer was perplexed as well by Franco’s introduction.
Really James Franco? Drivers and Danica …
— Jenna Fryer (@JennaFryer) February 24, 2013