General Hospital's Genie Francis Changes Stance On Her Most Controversial Storyline

Trigger warning: The following article contains language regarding sexual assault.

Laura Webber (Genie Francis) had a love affair with Scotty Baldwin (Kin Shriner) on "General Hospital" until she was swept off her feet by bad boy Luke Spencer (Anthony Geary) in 1979, per Soap Central. However, the show was in danger of being canceled at the time, and Gloria Monty was brought in as executive producer to try and save it. To do so, she introduced a controversial new storyline: Luke ran the local college disco where Laura worked, but he was also involved in the mob and at one point feared he was going to be killed. In his distress, he forced himself on Laura and raped her on the floor of the campus disco. 

While they eventually got past this horrific event and Luke and Laura went on to get married, the controversy of Laura marrying her rapist is still discussed today. Author of "The Survival of Soap Opera" Abigail De Kosnik spoke to People, explaining that Monty had a short amount of time to turn things around for the show. "In Luke and Laura, she (Monty) saw potential there to maybe make things happen that shouldn't happen, and that was electric," she stated. The show would go on to try to brush the traumatic event under the rug by referring to the incident as a "seduction."

Francis herself even defended the story for decades, but she now has a different viewpoint on the subject matter.

Genie Francis won't make excuses anymore

According to Francis' website, she felt that her character Laura didn't quite know what happened between herself and Luke. Francis is against the idea of a victim marrying their rapist and wouldn't have done the scene if it was presented differently.

ABC recently gave a presentation at the TV Critics Association and Francis was on hand to answer questions from reporters. When asked about the infamous rape scene, she remarked, "I don't defend it anymore." She explained that because she was 17 at the time it was filmed, her focus was on doing what the producers told her to do in order to keep them happy and keep her job. 

"At 60, I don't feel the need to defend that anymore," she stated, adding that when reflecting on what happened, she deems the scene inappropriate. "I don't condone it, and it's been a burden that I've had to carry to try to justify that story, and so I'm not doing that anymore," said Francis (via People).

She went on to state that the word "no" should mean "no," adding that, "if you replay that scene, you don't have Laura just saying 'No.' You have her screaming 'No.'" In the documentary "The Story of Soaps," she expressed that she was tired of condoning the story and stated, "It feels good to sit here and say I won't justify it. It's awful. They shouldn't have done it."

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).