Free Legal Advice for the Person Shopping Around the Joe Francis Sex Tape

What Women Really Think
June 6 2013 12:30 PM

Free Legal Advice for the Person Shopping Around the Joe Francis Sex Tape

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Abbey Wilson and Joe Francis in simpler times.

Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

The latest news from the Joe Francis circus is out this week, and for once, Francis himself appears to be the victim. Yesterday, the founder of Girls Gone Wild, a porn franchise featuring drunk women pressured into getting naked for an audience that finds sober sexual consent to be a turn-off, responded to rumors that there's a sex tape, from his girlfriend Abbey Wilson's iPad, being shopped around to various media outlets. He is deeply upset at this invasion of his sexual privacy, and his lawyer David Houston is threatening legal action. "When we catch you," he told TMZ, "we will see that you are prosecuted to the fullest extent of both the criminal and civil laws." 

If that happens, I highly recommend the iPad thief consider hiring some of the lawyers who have helped Francis in the past—he has, after all, had to contend with an astounding array of lawsuits regarding his eagerness to release sexual images of women who really don't want them out there. If you can’t afford those lawyers, here are some of the arguments inspired by past lawsuits against Girls Gone Wild that I think might help you out. I pass them along pro bono.

You're attacking my free speech rights! 

When Joe Francis was arrested in 2003 in Florida, he was slapped with over 70 criminal charges, the most serious being accusations of filming minors having sex. He and his lawyers argued that the state was just targeting him in retaliation for his supposed status as a free speech hero. (Francis had sued Florida authorities on First Amendment grounds when they tried to stop him from prowling nightclubs looking for drunk girls to badger into sexual acts for the camera.) "They're messing with him, without a doubt,” Greta Van Susteren said at he time, “and that's because Joe has poked a stick in the eye of the prosecutors who have the power to hold him." 

How might this argument work for you, iPad thief/free speech warrior? Paint yourself as the victim of a conspiracy to shut down your First Amendment rights, and have your lawyers wonder out loud why Joe Francis hates the Constitution. Surely you have as much of a right to share sexy videos without legal retaliation as Francis does.

Your legal opponents are sexual deviants. 

When Joe Francis was sued for emotional distress by women who appeared in his videos, he decided to represent himself in court so he could personally paint the plaintiffs as huge sluts who were clearly asking for it. Even though the girls were all under 18 when Francis filmed them engaged in sexual activity, he thought nothing, for instance, of berating them on the stand until they cried, even accusing one young woman of being a prostitute. The strategy worked, and he won the case. 
 
It shouldn't be too hard for you, iPad thief, to use this tactic on Francis. Unlike the underage girls that claimed emotional distress, Francis is a grown man who does very little to hide his rampant partying, decadent sex life, and odious attitude towards his fellow human beings. Get him on the stand and ask him a bunch of aggressive questions about his personal life, and see how quickly the jury forgets that it's you on trial and not him. 

Implied consent. 

Francis’ legal team loves this one. For instance, when Tamara Favazza sued Girls Gone Wild for including a video where a person in the crowd yanks down Favazza’s top even though she is visibly seen saying "I can't" to the team pressuring her to show her breasts, Francis' attorney said, "Through her actions, she gave implied consent. She was really playing to the camera. She knew what she was doing."

It is true that Favazza was wiggling her breasts at the camera and dancing around, though clearly the jury that awarded her over $5 million felt that didn't trump openly refusing consent on camera to go further. So give it a shot, anonymous iPad thief! You could argue that Joe Francis is a porn mogul who frequently boasts about the size of his penis, something this video should prove. Francis loves bragging so much that he used the occasion of being found guilty for kidnapping and assault to go on camera to claim that the jurors only convicted him because they're "jealous" because "I have a great life, I'm a good-looking guy" with "girls around me all the time." In other words, check out my big penis and awesome life on this sex video.

Amanda Marcotte is a Brooklyn-based writer and DoubleX contributor. She also writes regularly for the Daily Beast, AlterNet, and USA Today. Follow her on Twitter.