Last month we determined that Shia LaBeouf had taken the crown of celebrity troll king away from James Franco, now Franco is asserting his dominance by commenting on LaBeouf. 

In an essay for the New York Times (yes, that hallowed grey lady) Franco wrote an essay sort of defending LaBeouf, arguing that if LaBeouf's actions are part of some large piece of performance art, he's simply trying to reclaim his identity. Whatever you say, James. 

Of course, if you're not up to date on the latest of LaBeouf, here's a reminder as to what's been going on. First he was caught plagiarizing Daniel Clowes. Then he started purposefully plagiarizing apologies. Then he set up an art project titled #IAMSORRY.

Franco thinks, if this is all an act, this is great. "Indeed I hope — and, yes, I know that this idea has pretentious or just plain ridiculous overtones — that his actions are intended as a piece of performance art, one in which a young man in a very public profession tries to reclaim his public persona," Franco wrote in the Times. Franco justified this by explaining that a number of actors, including Marlon Brando, Joaquin Phoenix, and, yes, himself have rebelled against the industry they came up in. "Participating in this call and response is a kind of critique, a way to show up the media by allowing their oversize responses to essentially trivial actions to reveal the emptiness of their raison d’être. Believe me, this game of peek-a-boo can be very addictive," Franco said. Translation: trolling the media is fun. Reminder: this is appearing in the New York Times

But even Franco has his limits, ending his column by hoping that LaBeouf "is careful not to use up all the good will he has gained as an actor in order to show us that he is an artist." This, essentially, is a humblebrag. Franco asserts that he was able to both troll, while maintaining his status as an in demand actor. Franco is troll king. Bow down.