Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Lathrop & Gage takes on Girls Gone Wilds' Joe Francis

Posted by on Wed, Sep 15, 2010 at 10:00 AM

A KC firm is suing Girls Gone Wild's founder.
  • A KC firm is suing Girls Gone Wild's founder.
A KC firm is suing Girls Gone Wild's founder.
Kansas City law firm Lathrop & Gage is defending the publisher of a book about Girls Gone Wild and founder Joe Francis, who is not happy at all with the book (despite the smiling photo on the right). It's a must-read filing, full of mudslinging and name calling.

The complaint calls Francis a "businessman and a philanthropist." Lathrop & Gage's filing relishes in poking the beads-for-boobies broker: "convicted felon;

child molester; jail-baiting pervert; pimp; sick bastard;

sleaze-peddler; tax cheat; rapist; sleazehole; the epitome of a true

misogynist, coked-out amoral direct marketer; violent thug; juvenile

smut-peddler; sexual predator; one of the 50 most loathsome people in

America; and the Douche of the Decade."

Coked-out amoral direct marketer has such a poetic ring.

L&G's filing goes on to describe what kind of business Francis runs.

Francis is the notorious man behind the Girls Gone Wild franchise,

which features young girls (often intoxicated teenagers) who take off

their clothes for cameras in exchange for branded t-shirts and trucker

hats. In building his empire, Francis has created a twisted cult of

personality, powered by his own criminal/tortious acts and pure vanity,

propelling his public persona and his Girls Gone Wild brand into

worldwide recognition.

All of this is in defense of 4th

Street Media and 4 Park Publishing, which is publishing a tell-all book

by Francis' former running buddy, Ryan Simkin, called FLASH! Bars, Boobs and Busted: 5 Years on the Road with Girls Gone Wild.

L&G's

attorneys broke out the hypocritical hammer as they smashed Francis'

objections to the book while grudgingly admitting that Francis'

titillating "multi-million dollar global media enterprise" is "of

intense public interest." L&G's attorneys called this Francis'

"latest effort ... to restrain

speech" and says he's guided by a simple philosophy of "Free speech for

me, but not for thee."

Despite his occasional crowing about the First Amendment --

when it protects the exploitation of drunken girls who flash their

breasts to strangers armed with cameras -- Francis is not so keen on

free speech protections for those who speak out about Francis. Thus, he

routinely directs his attorneys to silence individuals and the media

with threats of defamation, slander and (as here) claims for tortious

interference with a contract.
...
As numerous lawsuits set forth in the LDB Decl. attest, over the years a number of young
women

who have woken up, or sobered up, the day after a long night of

partying and realized that they traded their dignity for a set of Mardi

Gras beads, have sued Francis and his company to stop the distribution

of these women's filmed folly. In response to such lawsuits, nobody has

trumpeted the First Amendment more loudly than Joe Francis. Now, when

the protective blare of that trumpet is necessary to protect a work

about Francis and the iconic Girls Gone Wild empire, Plaintiffs seek to

silence it. Fortunately, the California Legislature created the

anti-SLAPP statute to make sure Plaintiffs' effort will not succeed. For

all of the foregoing reasons, the motion should be granted.

Thus, Francis' challenge to the book's publishing. Francis appears to

fear that he'll be "anally raped over and over by the media," as he has

said before. L&G blames someone else for Francis' problems.

"Francis has himself to blame for his bad press," court documents say.

Hat tip to the KC Business Journal, which points out that Lathrop & Gage's merger with entertainment law and intellectual property firm

Spillane Shaeffer Aronoff Bandlow last year has led to more "high-profile clients involved in

colorful disputes." Can't wait to see the other legal scuffles Lathrop & Gage gets into now.

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