The sweetest revenge (porn): Joe Francis meets karma

Hi karma. Some days you warm my heart.

Joe Francis, misogynist extraordinaire and the man who brought us Girls Gone Wild, the soft core porn empire that made millions coercing drunk coeds to flash the camera or even perform sex acts for fun free is trying desperately keep a sex tape of his own from going public.

He’s threatening to sue any media outlet that releases the tape; his lawyer saying: “It is not only unfortunate, but it is a crime.

OH REALLY, JOE FRANCIS? REALLY IS IT A CRIME TO RELEASE VIDEOS OF OTHER PEOPLE PERFORMING SEX ACTS WITHOUT THEIR PERMISSION? IS IT FATHOMABLE THAT PEOPLE MIGHT NOT LIKE IMAGES OF THEIR NAKED BODIES SHOPPED AROUND ON THE INTERNET? Oh. Ok then.

Just so we’re clear, it’s totally fine to convince drunk 18-year-olds to flash the camera and then sell those tapes to the world (because everyone is on their best behaviour and has the ability to make thoughtful and clear decisions while wasted on spring break and being egged on by groups of dude-bros), BUT it’s a crime to release Joe Francis’ sex tape to the world. Because he’s a special flower who deserves RESPECT even though he treats women like a form of currency/punching bags.

Francis went to court in 2006 over claims from two 17-year-old girls that they’d been told by a camera man that he was shooting a “private film” when, of course, he was not and over the the fact that the girls were not of age to consent. He managed to evade charges, though that was not the first or last time he was accused of turning underage girls into porn. He plead guilty to child abuse and prostitution charges in 2008, though he claimed to have “never committed any crime,” saying he only plead guilty in order to get out of jail.

Last month, Francis was found guilty of false imprisonment and of assault and will be sentenced in July, facing a maximum of five years in prison.

I hate to depend on criminal charges in order to prove a dude is a cretin, because we often end up dependent on the old everything-is-a-ok-so-long-as-there’s-consent adage or on the odd notion that there’s some kind of gaping difference between exploiting and objectifying a 17-year-old and exploiting and objectifying an 18-year-old. I’m relieved, of course, to see Francis charged for something — anything, as he seems to believe he’s not only untouchable, but that he’s doing nothing wrong and is some kind of defender of free speech and the First Amendment, but I wish that we didn’t have to rely on “consent” as the marker of ethical behaviour or wait until he is charged for actually assaulting women before deciding he’s scum.

In any case, no more pretending — this dude is the worst in every way.

It’s abhorrent that this sociopath moves freely among stars and celebs as though he’s some kind of legitimate business man and is viewed as a celebrity himself, though we’ve known for at least a decade that he’s a violent, sexist, pig. Of course this is how things go when we treat prostitution and pornography as just normal, acceptable, harmless parts of life (Here’s looking at you, “sex positive feminists!” Keep up the freedom fighting!).

In any case, I doubt the experience of trying to keep his own sex tape under wraps will cause Francis to make any connections between his own behaviour and how, oh maybe people don’t like their private lives and bodies shared and exploited for profit online, but I can’t help but enjoy the irony of it all.

 

Meghan Murphy
Meghan Murphy

Founder & Editor

Meghan Murphy is a freelance writer and journalist. She has been podcasting and writing about feminism since 2010 and has published work in numerous national and international publications, including New Statesman, Vice, Al Jazeera, The Globe and Mail, I-D, Truthdig, and more. Meghan completed a Masters degree in the department of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies at Simon Fraser University in 2012 and lives in Vancouver, B.C. with her dog.

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