A few days ago, The New York Times published a short item about writer-actor-poet-director James Franco’s various collaborations with the actor Scott Haze, such as Franco’s recent film adaption of Cormac McCarthy’s Child of God, in which Haze plays a necrophiliac named Lester Ballard. Another role Haze appears to be playing: Franco’s live-in boyfriend.

Besides their artistic ventures, reporter Jacob Bernstein points out that Franco and Haze “met about a decade ago when they were acting students in Los Angeles,” are “so close that describing them merely as friends would be a disservice,” and are “sharing an apartment in Brooklyn this summer.” And here’s the kicker:

By now, it was 12:30 a.m. and Mr. Franco was clearly fading. An assistant pointed him and Mr. Haze to two waiting town cars. Mr. Franco expressed surprise, since they needed only one. “We live in the same place,” he said.

It’s not as if Franco and Haze have ever hid the intensity of their friendship. Haze even posted (at 3:30 a.m. on Sunday) a picture of them standing dramatically:

But theirs is the kind of relationship—somewhat ambiguous, seemingly gay, probably romantic—that almost always sends The New York Times into a bizarre moral panic. Remember Marty Peretz and “his assistant, a 26-year-old former I.D.F. officer”? Or Anderson Cooper’s “good looks, high spirits and glamorous adventures”?

Of course, it’s always hard to distinguish Franco’s private interest and public provocation—so perhaps the Times’ squeamishness is a symptom of their fear of being fooled. Maybe Franco was just messing with them! Then again, the paper of record has plenty of experience playing coy about gay relationships, too. In that sense, Franco and the Times are the perfect match.

Update (3:25 p.m.): Franco has responded to this article on Instagram:

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