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August 05, 2006

Joe Francis is Scum

If I tell you that Claire Hoffman's profile of Girls Gone Wild founder Joe Francis is one of the most chilling and explosive pieces of journalism I've ever read, will you believe me? Would I have to also say that the article begins with Francis literally assaulting Hoffman, to the degree that his bodyguard pulls him off and a sheriff advises that she press charges? Or that the piece recounts, through a first person interview, what sounds like Francis raping a loaded 18-year-old? Or that to get Francis off of her, the reporter wheels and delivers a close-fisted punch to his jaw? Or that Francis calls her editor and tries to argue that Hoffman was hitting on him, and he was worried she'd be unable to retain a respectful, professional distance?

Read the piece.

Update: Also read Amanda.

August 5, 2006 | Permalink

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Comments

Entertaining, sure, but "chilling" and "explosive"? Only if you've never met a wealthy, powerful sociopath or read the entertainment or society pages.

If no police department had an internal-affairs division, they'd still be better behaved than these groups.

Posted by: wcw | Aug 5, 2006 7:35:25 PM

That is truly sickening.

Posted by: Sam L. | Aug 5, 2006 7:38:42 PM

"Entertaining, sure, but "chilling" and "explosive"? Only if you've never met a wealthy, powerful sociopath or read the entertainment or society pages."

Chilling? Yes. Explosive? No.

Considering the subject, you would need an anecdote of Francis simultaneously raping a puppy and a 6 year old girl for "explosive".

Posted by: Petey | Aug 5, 2006 7:47:54 PM

And BTW, it's a very, very good piece.

Posted by: Petey | Aug 5, 2006 7:48:51 PM

That guy's probably a cokehead, which would both accomodate the relentless touring and account for his megalomaniacal rap about all successful people having inordinately large sex drives.

Posted by: kth | Aug 5, 2006 8:36:29 PM

Wasn't Francis' Malibu house subjected to a home invasion a few months ago and he was tied up and harassed? Or was that just my own personal fantasy? Couldn't have happened to a nicer guy.

Posted by: uppity kitty | Aug 5, 2006 8:36:51 PM

kitty: that was in the article. Francis was forced to sodomize himself with a vibrator while the assailant videotaped him. A tip from Paris Hilton (no, really) led to the assailant's arrest, and now he's serving 8 years.

Posted by: kth | Aug 5, 2006 8:46:25 PM

Wow. That is crazy and disturbing. That guy needs to be in jail. I feel really sorry for the women in these videos, they're not really victims in the traditional sense but there is something seriously wrong going on here.

Posted by: Unstable Isotope | Aug 5, 2006 8:47:18 PM

Sounds like another Conservative having his fun with the ladies.

Rush Limbaugh.

Newt Gingrich.

Rudy Giuliani.

Jack Welch.

Bob Livingston.

Yawn...

Posted by: Mark | Aug 6, 2006 12:16:56 AM

Francis was forced to sodomize himself with a vibrator while the assailant videotaped him. A tip from Paris Hilton (no, really) led to the assailant's arrest, and now he's serving 8 years.

....

Goddamn, I gotta write stranger fiction.

Posted by: NBarnes | Aug 6, 2006 12:38:03 AM

Whoa. Joe Francis is a completely vicious human being.

Man... I hope my teeth will unclench soon, so I can get to sleep tonight.

Posted by: Neil the Ethical Werewolf | Aug 6, 2006 3:21:30 AM

Anyone who's been following Francis for a while, and the Girls Gone Wild phenomenon, shouldn't be too surprised at this piece. I hadn't heard about the home invasion, but that's just part of a whole disturbing picture, really. I think the question has long been when do these things catch up to him, and maybe this is it, but I'd say don't count on it. What's more intruiging and depressing to me is that even with the steady stream of these stories, with the ugly tactics and the terrible treatment, women (and men in thos Guys Gone Wild pieces too) line up for this, and people continue to purchase these things. There's no accounting for people's tastes, but to me this a real low point in the culture.

Posted by: weboy | Aug 6, 2006 10:02:20 AM

Wikipedia has a good profile of Francis -- up-to-date enough to cite Hoffman's LA Times story.

The guy's under indictment on 42 charges. He's really his own most pathetic victim.

Posted by: Karlsfini | Aug 6, 2006 10:07:33 AM

Francis was forced to sodomize himself with a vibrator while the assailant videotaped him.

Really? And I thought that episode of CSI was rather contrived. Turns out it was "ripped from the headlines."

Posted by: Grumpy | Aug 6, 2006 11:51:12 AM

Add Ryan McPherson to the list of similar scum -- in this case abusing the homeless rather than women.

Posted by: KCinDC | Aug 6, 2006 12:52:14 PM

I've never understood the legal foundation for a photographer or videographer owning an image of me or anyone else. I don't care if they do have a signed waiver. If some idiot sold themselves into slavery and signed a waiver, it still wouldn't be legal.

Kevin Drum wrote an article a few months back asking who owns you. It was about personal and financial id information but shouldn't the same question be asked about images and sounds?

If someone profits from using an image of someone else, they should at least be required to split the profit.

Posted by: Emma Zahn | Aug 6, 2006 1:00:28 PM

"If some idiot sold themselves into slavery and signed a waiver, it still wouldn't be legal."

Right. But that's because the underlying act of slavery is illegal. You can't have a valid contract to enforce an illegal act. If we sign a contract saying you have to deliver a pound of marijuana to me, that's not a valid contract.

But since the underlying act of videoing a naked person isn't illegal, a signed waiver saying no compensation is required for commercial use of your image can indeed be a valid contract.

Posted by: Petey | Aug 6, 2006 2:04:53 PM

I've never understood the legal foundation for a photographer or videographer owning an image of me or anyone else.

I've never understood the legal foundation for a photographer having to get permission to use the light that bounced off of you or anyone else into his camera.

Posted by: Hamilton Lovecraft | Aug 6, 2006 2:12:36 PM

"I've never understood the legal foundation for a photographer having to get permission to use the light that bounced off of you or anyone else into his camera."

I'm less clear on this one.

I'd assume it has to do with privacy rights and commercial usage. In other words, if I photo you and you're not a public figure, I can use for news purposes, but I need an agreement with you if I want to sell tickets.

But, again, I'm less this clear on this one.

Posted by: Petey | Aug 6, 2006 2:37:22 PM

Damn, that's a tough thing to read first thing in your newsreader. What strikes me as odd about this whole thing is what prudery underlies the whole enterprise. Francis gets "sad" because he's now being approached by women who are genuine exhibitionists and want to be filmed on their own terms. He doesn't like women who are in charge of their sexuality, that's for damn sure.

Posted by: Amanda Marcotte | Aug 6, 2006 2:44:12 PM

I don't see that as particularly prudish. He clearly finds the prospect of "regular" girls who normally dont do such things flashing the camera, than he does natural exhibitionists for who'm the prospect is no big deal. I can see the logic in that.

And yeah, the guy appears to be a real scumbag.

This paragraph from the piece I thought really hit the money.

"Francis has aimed his cameras at a generation whose notions of privacy and sexuality are different from any other. Nursed on MySpace profiles and reality television, many young people today are comfortable with being perpetually photographed and having those images posted on the Internet for anyone to see. The boundaries that once contained sexuality have also fallen away. Whether it's 13-year-olds watching a Britney Spears video, 16-year-olds getting their pubic hair waxed to emulate porn stars or 17-year-olds viewing videos of celebrities performing the most intimate acts, youth culture is soaked in sexuality."

It's such a cliche to talk about how "fast young people are growing up these days" but I really think now it's more prevalant than ever. It's not just about being soaked in sexuality, I really truly just don't think that any other previous generation of young people & profiles on it has any parallel with the Myspace generation. I'm 25, not a spring chick but not a senior citizen either & even I am continually blown away by how much youtch culture has been altered within just the last 5 years.

Posted by: Dustin | Aug 7, 2006 4:45:00 AM

"It's such a cliche to talk about how "fast young people are growing up these days" but I really think now it's more prevalant than ever ... I am continually blown away by how much youth culture has been altered within just the last 5 years."

I believe that with a few short periods as the exceptions, this sentiment has been continually expressed for the past 85 years.

Posted by: Petey | Aug 7, 2006 5:04:16 AM

I think it's less that the culture has changed and that now he's a known name - people are actively seeking him out (or actively running away from him), so the people he's seeing have changed while the culture at large has not.

As far as legal rights to photographs - if you're in a public place, my understanding is that any and all photographs of you are fair game. Anything else needs a waiver.

And the assault? What the hell? This guy was a certainly beyond hope before that happened - I'm wondering if this pushed him off the deep end, or just even further off the deep end.

Posted by: Kylroy | Aug 7, 2006 11:00:36 AM

That rape story, to me, says it all about Francis. He has a routine where he has girls get on his bus and have sex with his camerman, filming it to make amateur porn. He gets a teenager drunk in a club and kinda-sorta gets her to consent to masturbate with a sex toy on camera. Then when the sex toy is painful to her, they find out she's a virgin.

So, instead of going ahead and filming a sex scene with his cameraman, he decides to rape her instead, because he gets off on deflowering a girl. He does this off camera, of course, to reduce the chance of prosecution.

This guy's the worst scum on earth.

Posted by: Dilan Esper | Aug 7, 2006 4:05:16 PM

Let's call it "AIDS gone wild!" or "STD's gone wild"

Posted by: Et | Aug 7, 2006 11:18:18 PM

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