James Franco Apologizes for Hitting on Teenage Girl… But There Might Be More to the Story

James Franco: actor, performance artist… Instagram creep?

Franco — who is currently starring in "Of Mice and Men" on Broadway — made headlines this week after allegedly hitting on a 17-year-old girl via the social media app.

On Wednesday, a stream of text messages ("Where do you live?" "How long will you be in New York?" "You're 18?" "You're single?" "What's the hotel?" "Should I rent a room?") went viral that supposedly showed Franco flirting with a blonde he met outside of his theater.

Before the "Law & Order: SVU" theme song starts playing in your head, we should point out that 17 is the legal age of consent in New York City.

But legal or not, Franco, 35, is now apologizing for his behavior.

"I'm embarrassed, and I guess I'm just a model of how social media is tricky," Franco said Friday on "Live! With Kelly and Michael." "It's a way people meet each other today, but what I've learned is you don't know who's on the other end. … I used bad judgment and I learned my lesson.

"Not only do I have to go through the embarrassing rituals of meeting someone … then it gets published for the world. Now it's doubly embarrassing."

After the messages hit the Web, Franco tweeted:

But there is one more theory we want to throw out there about this whole situation.

James Franco, author of that New York Times article "The Meanings of the Selfie," also has a new movie to promote, "Palo Alto." In the film, based on Franco's book of short stories, he plays a high school soccer coach who hooks up one of his teenage players (Emma Roberts).

"Attention seems to be the name of the game when it comes to social networking," James wrote in the Times piece.

So, is he an evil genius plugging his new project, or just a guy who doesn't have good judgment when trying to pick up girls?