Joe Francis Gone Wild
August 4, 2006 10:46 PM   Subscribe

Joe Francis is a rapist. Article from this weekend's LA Times Magazine about Joe Francis, of Girls Gone Wild (nsfw) fame/infamy, including his physical assault of the LA Times reporter and the rape of a GGW girl she (partially) witnesses.
posted by rbs (51 comments total)

This post was deleted for the following reason: he wasn't convicted of rape



 
This is depressing, and yet not in the least bit surprising.
posted by jonson at 11:02 PM on August 4, 2006


I'm not sure that being accused of rape and then found not guilty gives you the right to call him a rapist.

Just saying.
posted by Kickstart70 at 11:11 PM on August 4, 2006


Kickstart70: Did you read the whole thing?
posted by rbs at 11:11 PM on August 4, 2006


Okay, if you say so. Neither of those links have a rape result. That said, Joe Francis is a dirtbag par excellence.
posted by tellurian at 11:12 PM on August 4, 2006


"""
Eventually, Szyszka says, Francis told the cameraman to leave and pushed her back on the bed, undid his jeans and climbed on top of her. "I told him it hurt, and he kept doing it. And I keep telling him it hurts. I said, 'No' twice in the beginning, and during I started saying, 'Oh, my god, it hurts.' I kept telling him it hurt, but he kept going, and he said he was sorry but kissed me so I wouldn't keep talking."

Afterward, she says, Francis cleaned them both off with a paper towel and told her to get dressed. Then, she says, he opened the door and told the cameraman to come back, saying, "She's not a virgin anymore."
"""
posted by rbs at 11:17 PM on August 4, 2006


Footage from that night shows a close-up of Szyszka's driver's license, proving she's not a minor. The camera then captures Szyszka lying on the bed. Her nails are chipped, her eyes coated with makeup. Following a camerman's instructions, she shows her breasts and says, "Girls Gone Wild." She seems shy but willing. She smiles. The unseen cameraman asks her to take off her shirt, her skirt, then her underwear. She sprawls on the bed, her legs open. At his suggestion, she masturbates with a dildo, saying repeatedly that it hurts but also feels good. Francis enters the room at certain points and you hear his voice, low and flirtatious, telling her, "You are so adorable." When she says she's a virgin, he responds: "Great. You won't be after my cameraman gets done with you."

When I talk to Szyszka seven days later, she says she "didn't quite realize" she was being filmed. "But I didn't care because I was drunk and who cares?" Then she adds: "It didn't feel good to me at all, but I was totally faking it because I was on 'Girls Gone Wild.'"

Eventually, Szyszka says, Francis told the cameraman to leave and pushed her back on the bed, undid his jeans and climbed on top of her. "I told him it hurt, and he kept doing it. And I keep telling him it hurts. I said, 'No' twice in the beginning, and during I started saying, 'Oh, my god, it hurts.' I kept telling him it hurt, but he kept going, and he said he was sorry but kissed me so I wouldn't keep talking."


This qualifies as rape to me.
posted by beaucoupkevin at 11:18 PM on August 4, 2006


It's one person's accusation. I don't see there where the court found him to be a rapist.

However, I wholly admit to being really tired. If I've missed that bit, please let me know and I'll correct myself.
posted by Kickstart70 at 11:22 PM on August 4, 2006 [1 favorite]


Just because a court hasn't found someone guilty of a specific crime doesn't mean they didn't engage in given conduct.

I had a sandwich for lunch today. No jury has ever found me to be a sandwich eater, but I'm pretty sure I did actually eat the sandwich.
posted by JekPorkins at 11:34 PM on August 4, 2006 [1 favorite]


GGW link should be listed as NSFW. Not that it shouldn't be obvious, but interface consistency is important.
posted by delmoi at 11:35 PM on August 4, 2006


Okay, to be clear, I hate Joe Francis, and it's 100% believable that he's a rapist, but this post refers to the rape like it was confirmed, which it is not, and like it was "(partially) witnessed", which it was absolutely not. We have one account of one drunken person's accusations. That's a far cry from convicted.
posted by jonson at 11:36 PM on August 4, 2006


Just because a court hasn't found someone guilty of a specific crime doesn't mean they didn't engage in given conduct.

Sure, I agree. But there are laws to prevent people making unproven accusations which are damaging to a reputation, like calling someone a rapist without words like 'alleged', prior to the court finding them guilty of being one.

That, specifically, is my point. I don't know if he's a rapist, and neither does the submitter. But the line was crossed in the first sentence of the post, and that's what I'm talking about.
posted by Kickstart70 at 11:36 PM on August 4, 2006


This qualifies as rape to me.

But not to the court apparently. These kinds of situations are really, really messy.

Just because a court hasn't found someone guilty of a specific crime doesn't mean they didn't engage in given conduct.

Uh...
posted by delmoi at 11:40 PM on August 4, 2006


JekPorkins: Just because a court hasn't found someone guilty of a specific crime doesn't mean they didn't engage in given conduct.

Good point. The way the American criminal justice system is set up, "not-guilty" does not equate to factual, moral, ethical or civil innocence.

Kickstart70: Sure, I agree. But there are laws to prevent people making unproven accusations which are damaging to a reputation, like calling someone a rapist without words like 'alleged', prior to the court finding them guilty of being one.

Yes, this is a hedge against liability for libel used by many publications who are forced to rely on second-hand information. Newspapers are also held to a higher legal standard in regards to reasonable belief. In casual conversation and message board posts by single persons however, the reasonable belief and opinion defenses are much stronger.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 12:05 AM on August 5, 2006


Nuke him from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.
posted by Sticherbeast at 12:23 AM on August 5, 2006


Indeed. Joe Francis isn't a rapist just like O.J. Simpson isn't a murderer.
posted by fandango_matt at 12:32 AM on August 5, 2006


In casual conversation and message board posts by single persons however, the reasonable belief and opinion defenses are much stronger.

Perhaps, but do you have a legal cite for that? Prior instances where the court has said so?

I don't think this washes, and I think it's a wise course of action to be just a *little* more circumspect on these sorts of accusations against rich people with lawyers.
posted by Kickstart70 at 12:34 AM on August 5, 2006


Sure the guy's a rich asshole, but in the absence of evidence you have to consider that the alleged victim has a lot to gain from accusing this very rich asshole of raping her. Even if they did have sex, it's not at all implausible that it was consensual.

That being said, wouldn't she legally be incapable of consenting if she were drunk?

If the guy is truly a chronic offender, he will get what's coming to him. Until there's evidence and a conviction, however, it is pretty reasonable to consider that he may be the victim in many of these cases.
posted by polyhedron at 12:35 AM on August 5, 2006


What a horrifying article.

I wish she'd punched him harder.
posted by anjamu at 12:41 AM on August 5, 2006


That being said, wouldn't she legally be incapable of consenting if she were drunk?

I know that's what I was told in college freshman orientation.

But I bet it varies by state...
posted by flaterik at 12:42 AM on August 5, 2006


Joe Francis isn't a rapist just like O.J. Simpson isn't a murderer.

Except in this case the police didn't feel there was even enough evidence to lay charges:

"Police dropped their investigation, citing a lack of evidence, and Francis sued the woman for defamation in state court in Miami, where the case is pending."
posted by Kickstart70 at 12:43 AM on August 5, 2006


Wouldn't she legally be incapable of consenting if she were drunk?

As of 2003, Illinois law dictates that if someone says no at any time during sex, if the other person does not stop, it constitutes rape.

I can't find anything that states conclusively that Illinois law recognizes inebriated women as unable to consent (and I wonder what the threshold is at which a woman goes from able to consent to too drunk to consent) but many states do have provisions in place which state that drunkenness precludes consent.

NB: The incident in question took place in Chicago, which is why I make reference to IL law.
posted by anjamu at 12:56 AM on August 5, 2006


That being said, wouldn't she legally be incapable of consenting if she were drunk?

So if he was drunk too, then does that mean she raped him?

I have no idea where this idea comes from. People are still responsible for their actions when they're drunk. People have sex all the time while they're drunk.

Obviously if they're unconscious it's rape.
posted by delmoi at 1:01 AM on August 5, 2006


Kickstart70: That quote references a different case. He seems to have a history of this nonsense, but no actual convictions. I say, where there's smoke...
posted by chiababe at 1:02 AM on August 5, 2006


Here's the GGW blog, complete with a Glengarry Glen Ross quote ripoff in the first line of the July 3 entry.
posted by fandango_matt at 1:11 AM on August 5, 2006


Not sure what you guys are fighting about, your clearly free to call him a rapist, by Kickstart70's own reasoning, since he'll *never* win a libel suit. A more interesting question is why the cort reached this decission.
posted by jeffburdges at 1:14 AM on August 5, 2006


There's also this line:

When I talk to Szyszka seven days later, she says she "didn't quite realize" she was being filmed. "But I didn't care because I was drunk and who cares?" Then she adds: "It didn't feel good to me at all, but I was totally faking it because I was on 'Girls Gone Wild.'"

So, she didn't realize she was being filmed, but she realized she was on GGW? That's not drunk, that's a special kind of stupid.
posted by Kickstart70 at 1:17 AM on August 5, 2006


I say, where there's smoke...

And where there's an article in a Tribune owned paper... This story looks like a flare being shot off. I suspect there's a lot more going on with this guy, and I assume the LA Times is going to stand behind their reporter.
posted by maryh at 1:23 AM on August 5, 2006


Rapist or not, he sounds like a total ass.
posted by liquorice at 2:55 AM on August 5, 2006


Is he taking advantage of youthful excess for profit? Yes. Is this morally questionable? Oh absolutely. But before you go making allegations, make damn good and sure that they are verifiable.
posted by lekvar at 2:55 AM on August 5, 2006


Having met the guy at his parent's house and been forced to listen to him prattle on for nearly an hour about Paris Hilton and Tara Reid, I'd just like to provide independent confirmation that he's a complete asshole.
posted by BuddhaInABucket at 3:28 AM on August 5, 2006


No court has ever found Mel Gibson guilty of being an antisemite.
posted by Astro Zombie at 3:42 AM on August 5, 2006


More than a dozen women have sued him, alleging that his company used images of them exposing their bodies on "Girls Gone Wild" videos, box covers and infomercials without their permission. Only a few have convinced the courts that they were unwitting victims. For the most part, judges and juries have sided with Francis' 1st Amendment argument that the plaintiffs' images were captured in public places and that the company was free to use them as it pleased, particularly in light of the fact that the women had signed waivers.
Now there's a special kind of stupid. Hope your dad likes the videos.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:10 AM on August 5, 2006


Also...
"My favorite is explaining to dumb chicks why the qwerty keyboard is called a qwerty keyboard, and why the letters aren't in order," he tells me. "They're, like, 18 years old, and they're, like, 'Wait a minute, there were typewriters?' And you got to start there."

I give him a look that says I have no idea what he's talking about. I haven't spent much time with 18-year-old girls lately, but the ones I know have usually heard of typewriters. But a qwerty keyboard? Never heard of it.
And this is a writer for the LA Times. Yep... a special kind of stupid.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:16 AM on August 5, 2006


I think because when you say "qwerty" out loud, it doesn't exactly ring a bell. It sounds like some odd new mix between "quirky" and "flirty".
posted by liquorice at 4:28 AM on August 5, 2006


If you can't give consent to sex while drunk, then those waivers signed while under the influence should be disregarded too (legally speaking, I means).
posted by liquorice at 4:30 AM on August 5, 2006


yeah, joe francis sure is a creep.

but that was a gawdawful fucking article. rambling, disjointed, incoherent, and she doesn't know what a qwerty keyboard is and admits it? oi vey.
posted by Hat Maui at 4:38 AM on August 5, 2006


First Sarah Silverman, and now this poor girl. When will Joe Franklin's reign of terror be stopped?
posted by Simon! at 4:46 AM on August 5, 2006 [2 favorites]


Related tangent: The article quotes Tulane University professor Vicki Mayer, whose work related to the making & consumption of media is intriguing.
posted by NYCinephile at 5:35 AM on August 5, 2006 [1 favorite]


I have no idea where this idea comes from.

This idea comes from that the law often considers capacity to consent, the relevant Illinois criminal statute stating:

(720 ILCS 5/12‑13)
Sec. 12‑13. Criminal Sexual Assault.
(a) The accused commits criminal sexual assault if he or she:
...
(2) commits an act of sexual penetration and the accused knew that the victim was unable to understand the nature of the act or was unable to give knowing consent;


(Illinois doesn't seem to have a crime called "rape")

I can't find any clarification of "unable to give knowing consent" but I would expect sufficient inebriation (particularly in light of the age of the victim, 18) to qualify. Depending on how drunk she appears in the video taken before the alleged sex act, a jury could find that she was in fact raped.

I think some other states (California comes to mind for some reason) clearly outline inebriation as rendering a person unable to consent. I'm fairly certain that the consideration of ability to consent itself is common throughout state sexual assault/rape codes. FindLaw's take on rape.

Clearly this is one of those things that only matters if someone cares enough to pursue criminal prosecution. If everyone involved wants to get drunk and fuck, the vice squad isn't going to bust the doors down and arrest 'em all for raping each other.

liquorice: I'm pretty sure a contract made while a party is inebriated is technically unenforcable, the problem is proving it after the fact.
posted by polyhedron at 5:39 AM on August 5, 2006


From here:

Under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, as set forth by the U.S. Supreme Court in the 1964 Case, New York Times v Sullivan, where a public figure attempts to bring an action for defamation, the public figure must prove an additional element: That the statement was made with "actual malice". In translation, that means that the person making the statement knew the statement to be false, or issued the statement with reckless disregard as to its truth.
posted by Ryvar at 6:04 AM on August 5, 2006


liquorice: of course, she had to type "qwerty" when she wrote the article, and still the penny didn't drop...
posted by Leon at 6:43 AM on August 5, 2006


"I've been anally raped over and over by the media."
posted by smackfu at 7:00 AM on August 5, 2006


Oh for God's sake. this quibbling is disgusting.
He's a bully, a rapist, and a predator. Of course some of his victims are stupid even when sober. But preying on stupid women is not much better, morally, than preying on drunken ones.
posted by alloneword at 7:01 AM on August 5, 2006


Anybody besides me wishing he/she could piss on Joe Francis' grave? I'd be whistling "Welcome to My World."
posted by pax digita at 7:03 AM on August 5, 2006


The guy is pretty obviously an asshole, but this article is just as obviously out to get him. The whole tone of it, the inclusion of weird "facts" obviously to make him look bad, like the woman who was threatened by him and who it's casually mentioned miscarried - two weeks later, etc.

And yes, calling him a rapist is wrong. He's not convicted of it, his claim that the sex was consensual seems quite likely from the circumstances, and it's just really convenient to call him a rapist, after all, that's what all the good moral people would like to think a pornographer like him is, right?

He's an asshole, and I would probably hit him in the face if I had to hang out with him. But that doesn't make him a rapist, or what he's doing illegal.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 7:23 AM on August 5, 2006


but that was a gawdawful fucking article. rambling, disjointed, incoherent, and she doesn't know what a qwerty keyboard is and admits it? oi vey.

Funny. I thought it was a rather well-written example of it's type.
posted by lodurr at 7:24 AM on August 5, 2006


ENOUGH OF THE FUCKING RAPE DERAIL.

"but that was a gawdawful fucking article. rambling, disjointed, incoherent, and she doesn't know what a qwerty keyboard is and admits it? oi vey."

I disagree completely. This is exactly what a well-formed investigative feature looks like, and she nails Francis. She does an excellent job with personal voice, and she's incredibly fair (given the subject), which makes her takedown even more effective.

Also, conflicting stories from someone who was drunk off their ass and now is embarrassed aren't common or indicative of stupidity. I realize that most of you have never done witness interviews before, but it's really rare to find someone who can speak in a way that holds up when read as entirely solid (which is one of the reasons that rape cases are so seldomly brought to trial). That's how most people formulate statements, even those with doctorates.
posted by klangklangston at 7:31 AM on August 5, 2006 [1 favorite]


I can't say I've ever been impressed by GGW videos or anyone involved in them, in front of or behind the camera.
posted by clevershark at 7:37 AM on August 5, 2006


klangklangston: But, the rape thing isn't a derail, it's what the whole article is based on. There are plenty of other charges against him presented, but they all exist to shore up the rape charge, to make that charge seem more likely. If you assume, for the sake of argument, that the rape charge is false, then the rest of the article paints him mostly as an asshole, of the kind common in showbusiness, really.

I don't think the article was particularly great, but it's not that bad either. It's about standard for this kind of feature/portrait article, except perhaps that the reporter comes off as a bit whiny.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 7:43 AM on August 5, 2006


It was a nicely written article, imo---quite coherent and well-developed. It culminates in a moment of creepy insight that aptly captures the particular dreadfulness of Mr. Francis.
posted by washburn at 8:15 AM on August 5, 2006


... except perhaps that the reporter comes off as a bit whiny.

Especially that part where she gets upset when Francis twists her arm a widdle bit and then tries to make it up to her with a kiss. Whiney, alright. Who'd be upset about that?
posted by lodurr at 8:27 AM on August 5, 2006


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