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'Getting Famous Will Get Me Anything I Want'

By Sarah Dahnke in Arts & Entertainment on Aug 9, 2006 7:42PM

2006_8_9_GGW.jpgBy now you may have read Claire Hoffman’s horribly disturbing, sickening-
to-the-stomach piece
on Joe Francis, creator of the Girls Gone Wild empire. When a tipster sent us the link to the article this weekend, we hastily passed it over without even opening the link, thinking it was some fluff piece on foam parties and topless girls gyrating to 120 bpms. Once we sat down and gave the article our full attention, we were sickened beyond belief and plagued with a number of thoughts on the state of our society. We’re getting ahead of ourselves, though …

To get you up to speed, a summary: Hoffman, a Hollywood/adult industry reporter for the L.A. Times, accompanied Francis to an unnamed club on the outskirts of Chicago for a GGW party. At this party she hangs out in the VIP room and on the bus (described as being furnished with a double bed, a flat screen T.V., lubricants, condoms, sex toys in plastic bags, baby oil, a DVD called "How to be a Player" and a clipboard full of waivers for girls to sign) with a few of the selected few who get to be filmed. Among these girls is young Kaitlyn Bultema, who has alerted the GGW crew that she is turning 18 that night and wants to “get wild for the cameras the minute she is legal.” When asked why she wants to be “discovered” by GGW, she replies, “I want everyone to see me because I’m hot,” and admits that she hopes the exposure would catapult her into the fame of an actress or a model. Also among the barely legals is 18-year-old Jannel Szyszka, who ends up getting hand picked by Francis, fed liquor in the VIP lounge and led back to the bus. She is filmed stripping and masturbating, but after that things get fuzzy. She claims Francis forced himself on her and took her virginity, while Francis claims he didn’t have sex with anyone that night. And a third claim, this time by Francis’ lawyer, says that the two had consensual sex.

Furthermore, Hoffman had to punch Francis after he pinned her on top of a car outside of the club, allegedly re-enacting his encounter with Panama City Police a few years ago, with Melrose Park police standing by watching most of the encounter without stepping in.

If you can muddle through the incredibly verbose article, chances are you will feel as nauseas as our staff and some other bloggers 2006_8_9_GGW2.jpgdid. It seems that the bigger issue at hand is not “Is Joe Francis a sleazy, violent, yet well-endowed rapist?” (The answer is yes.) It is more, “Why are there so many young women perfectly willing, make that CLAMORING, to take their clothes off and go crazy in front of a camera?” Do they honestly think that being filmed while taking a shower with three other girls will bring them instant fame and fortune? Or is our society so bombarded with softcore porn a la Myspace that we have effectively blurred the lines of decency?

In the article, Hoffman interviews Vicki Mayer, a sociologist and Tulane University assistant professor, who studies this sort of thing, and she concludes that “the owners of these companies who are contracting cheap labor and free talent for a media product" are the real winners in these situations. Well said, but it still remains a mystery as to how Francis has been able to tap into a seemingly unlimited supply of inebriated college-age girls who will do absolutely anything on camera in exchange for a trucker hat.

Also, Chicagoist did some quick sleuthing and found that the site of this incident was Energy Thursday, one of those Spring Break in your hometown/foam parties/girls in their underwear-type clubs, as evidenced by the Web site.

Images via Energy Thursday Web site.