male privilege personified.
every freaking college boy who is complicit supporting the show should
know about the below article. and women should think what we’re
licking the boots of.
also see analysis here, which relates the below to murder/rape in Iraq –
and a response to that analysis –
i’ve been thinking about the lack of colonized women’s / non-white
women’s voices in the feminist sex work debate — which usually
includes no class analysis, no analysis of racism in the sex / porn
industry, no recognition that for the vast majority of sex workers in
the world economic coercion & abuse fuel their situation, not free
“choice.” i’ve been thinking of our rape culture, how rape
accusations against men of power are treated even by our so-called
progressive male allies.
even accounts of andrew jackson’s record as a slaveholder omit how
this supposed “self-made man” bought a young woman as his first slave
– so he could rape and impregnate her to increase his ‘capital.’
funny how no one’s bothered to make a film or write a book about
american history from her point of view — how women’s experiences of
sexual violence are erased into oblivion (unless they’re porn), while
their assaulters are memorialized as our role models. how
counterpunch ran a dumbass piece about why the media should have
covered the mentally unstable woman accusing W. of rape, because,
haha, anyone can tell she’s crazy and it makes him feel sorry for
bush. and they can’t find feminist articles more worthy than that
piece of shit to include regularly?
i’ve been angry.
‘Baby, Give Me a Kiss’
The man behind the ‘Girls Gone Wild’ soft-porn empire lets Claire
Hoffman into his world, for better or worse
By Claire Hoffman, Times Staff Writer
August 6, 2006
Joe Francis, the founder of the “Girls Gone Wild” empire, is
humiliating me. He has my face pressed against the hood of a car, my
arms twisted hard behind my back. He’s pushing himself against me,
shouting: “This is what they did to me in Panama City!”
It’s after 3 a.m. and we’re in a parking lot on the outskirts of
Chicago. Electronic music is buzzing from the nightclub across the
street, mixing easily with the laughter of the guys who are watching
this, this me-pinned-and-helpless thing.
Francis isn’t laughing.
He has turned on me, and I don’t know why. He’s going on and on about
Panama City Beach, the spring break spot in northern Florida where Bay
County sheriff’s deputies arrested him three years ago on charges of
racketeering, drug trafficking and promoting the sexual performance of
a child. As he yells, I wonder if this is a flashback, or if he’s
punishing me for being the only blond in sight who’s not wearing a
thong. This much is certain: He’s got at least 80 pounds on me and I’m
thinking he’s about to break my left arm. My eyes start to stream
This is not what I anticipated when I signed up for a tour of Joe
Francis’ world. I’ve been with him nonstop since early afternoon,
listening as he teases employees, flying on his private jet, eating
fast food and watching young women hurl themselves against his
6-foot-2-inch frame, declaring, “We want to go wild!”
Above the dance floor, the stage is full of girls who rotate, twist
and shimmy their way up and down three strip poles. One of them is
Jannel Szyszka, a petite 18-year-old who prances around the stage like
a star. At her feet, a crowd of hundreds is gyrating to the pounding
house music. Dozens of polo-shirted boys shout up to her, making
requests like “shake your titties” and “get crunk” (meaning
Szyszka tells me later that as she was spinning around the strip pole
that night, Francis appeared, grabbed her arm and pulled her toward
him. “You are so going on the bus later,” she recalls Francis saying.
“I was like, ‘Um, OK.’ I was shocked. I was like, ‘Whoaâ€”Joe’s, like,
trying to talk to me, like out of all the girls in here.’” Francis
invited her back to the VIP area to do shots with him, she says, and
she said yes.
Szyszka says the more shots she drank, the cloudier her judgment
became. She says she agreed to join Francis and his crew on the “Girls
Gone Wild” bus. “I thought ‘Girls Gone Wild’ was like flashing, and I
thought I would flash them and be done. And so when I’m walking to the
bus, that’s all I’m thinking is going to happen.”
At first she felt comfortable, she says. Inebriated and excited, she
says she was led to the back of the bus, to a small bedroom. The
double bed, with its neatly folded iridescent purple sheets, takes up
most of the room. A flat-screen TV faces the bed, and cabinets are
filled with remote controls, 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. A small bathroom is off to the side,
with a half-sized shower with faux marble tiling, and on the floor of
the shower is a crate holding cheap and fruity-flavored rum, whiskey,
tequila and Kool-Aid.
Footage from that night shows a close-up of Szyszka’s driver’s
license, proving she’s not a minor. The camera then captures Szyszka
lying on the bed. Her nails are chipped, her eyes coated with makeup.
Following a camerman’s instructions, she shows her breasts and says,
“Girls Gone Wild.” She seems shy but willing. She smiles. The unseen
cameraman asks her to take off her shirt, her skirt, then her
underwear. She sprawls on the bed, her legs open. At his suggestion,
she masturbates with a dildo, saying repeatedly that it hurts but also
feels good. Francis enters the room at certain points and you hear his
voice, low and flirtatious, telling her, “You are so adorable.” When
she says she’s a virgin, he responds: “Great. You won’t be after my
cameraman gets done with you.”
When I talk to Szyszka seven days later, she says she “didn’t quite
realize” she was being filmed. “But I didn’t care because I was drunk
and who cares?” Then she adds: “It didn’t feel good to me at all, but
I was totally faking it because I was on ‘Girls Gone Wild.’”
Eventually, Szyszka says, Francis told the cameraman to leave and
pushed her back on the bed, undid his jeans and climbed on top of her.
“I told him it hurt, and he kept doing it. And I keep telling him it
hurts. I said, ‘No’ twice in the beginning, and during I started
saying, ‘Oh, my god, it hurts.’ I kept telling him it hurt, but he
kept going, and he said he was sorry but kissed me so I wouldn’t keep
Afterward, she says, Francis cleaned them both off with a paper towel
and told her to get dressed. Then, she says, he opened the door and
told the cameraman to come back, saying, “She’s not a virgin anymore.”
Szyszka says Francis told her that what happened had to stay between
them. She says she agreed, and they walked to the front of the bus.
Szyszka remembers that one of the crew returned her driver’s license.
Another asked if she wanted to hang out on the bus. She declined, she
says, but asked for three pairs of “booty short” underwear that
Francis had promised her for appearing on camera. “They gave me a
weird look like that was too much,” Szyszka recalls. “They were, like,
‘Three of them?’ and I was, like, ‘Yeah, three.’”
Within days, Szyszka says, she told her father, who was angry about
what she said had happened but kept quiet at her request. A month
after the incident, she says, she told her sister and mother.
She’s confused, she admits, about what happened. She feels guilty, she
says, for getting herself into the situation in the first place. She
says she never would have undressed for the cameras if she hadn’t been
completely drunk. And she is adamant that she said “no” to Francis.
She says she’s haunted by that night.
“I feel like it was planned,” she says. “Sometimes I’m driving along,
and I think about it and all of a sudden feel weird.”
Six weeks after that night outside Chicago, when I call Francis on his
cellphone and ask him about the incident, he says he doesn’t remember
Szyszka and that he didn’t have sex with anyone that night. He seems
to lose control, repeatedly referring to me by a crude word for female
genitalia. “If you print that, I will [expletive] sue the [expletive]
out of you. If you print that, baby, you just put the nail in your own
coffin,” he tells me. “You are a [expletive expletive]. You decided to
blast me . . . You are a [expletive] bitch . . . I will get my last
laugh on you. I will get you.” He then refers me to Burke, his lawyer.
In an e-mail, Burke says Francis and Szyszka did have sexâ€”consensual
sexâ€”and that neither Francis nor anyone affiliated with “Girls Gone
Wild” gave her any alcohol. “Neither Mr. Francis nor any of the GGW
staff in or around the bus recall Ms. Szyszka making any complaint or
comment about Mr. Francis. In fact, Ms. Szyszka was in good spirits
after the encounter, and numerous witnesses have stated that she
danced with her friends outside the bus for nearly two hours
afterward,” Burke writes. He adds: “Though Mr. Francis cannot speak to
Ms. Szyszka’s discomfort during the encounter, other news stories have
commented that Mr. Francis is reputedly well-endowed.”
Francis sounds scared in the message he leaves on my office voicemail:
“I’ve seen some excerpts from your article that I guess you’ve sent to
the photographer and, um, I want to talk to you about it.”
No photographer has been assigned to the story, and no excerpts have
been sent to anyone.
I don’t call Francis back right away, so he calls my editor. He tells
her that I have a crush on him, that I have an ax to grind because I
am jealous and angry.
“I just felt that Claire may have had a little affinity for me,” he
says as she takes notes. “It may have come out when she had a few
drinks.” He describes my behavior as aggressively romantic.
“Originally she hit on me. That’s how I met her. I took her to a
lunch. She called me all the time and it wasn’t about work. It was
about me. I know when a girl has a crush on me.”
He tells her I was drinking heavilyâ€””we all were”â€”and offers to send
photographs to prove it. When my editor asks if he put his hands on me
that night, he doesn’t hesitate.
“I did absolutely get physical with herâ€”but not romantically,” he
says. “We were outside standing by a police car. The officer told her
to quit taking notes on what he was saying. I said, ‘There’s no
freedom of the press here.’ I took her arms behind her back and said,
‘Let’s take her to jail.’ I said she should go to jail and the officer
agreed with me. She didn’t get the sarcasm. She listened to him. She
stopped writing. Can you believe that? That’s the 1st Amendment. She’s
not a journalist. I stand up for the 1st Amendment. But she didn’t.”
My problem, he tells my editor, is that I “wasn’t smart enough” to
“get” what he was saying.
When I start to pull police and court records, I find that I’m not the
only woman who’s made Francis mad.
In 2000, the property manager of his Santa Monica apartment, Stephanie
Van de Motter, obtained a restraining order requiring that he stay at
least 100 yards away from her. According to court documents, she said
that Francis, upset about the noise garbage collectors made in the
mornings, had harassed and threatened her, twice climbing up to her
bedroom window and pounding violently on the glass and screaming
obscenities at her whenever he saw her. He appeared in her office
several times, she said, asking for her by using the crude word for
female genitalia, and left messages with a co-worker: “Tell the bitch
this is war.” Francis’ lawyer says he can’t comment on the case.
In 2003, Darian Mathias-Patterson, who scouted locations and arranged
for the rental of a space for a Halloween party Francis threw, filed a
police report, saying he had threatened to kill her when she told him
she couldn’t return his $25,000 deposit because the 2,000 guests had
trashed the place. He hurled profanities at her, she told police,
saying, “I’m going to [expletive] get you, you [expletive] whore” and
repeatedly used the same crude word. Two weeks later,
Mathias-Patterson, who was pregnant, miscarried. She later sued
Francis and his company in Los Angeles County Superior Court for
emotional distress, and the case was settled for an undisclosed
amount. Francis’ lawyer says he can’t comment on the case.
In 2004, a woman filed a police report accusing Francis of drugging
her. She told police that after she met Francis in a bar in South
Beach, Fla., where they argued over the morality of “Girls Gone Wild”
videos, she went to his room at the Ritz-Carlton for a drink and awoke
the next morning in bed next to him. Police dropped their
investigation, citing a lack of evidence, and Francis sued the woman
for defamation in state court in Miami, where the case is pending. He
is seeking $25,000,036â€”a figure that includes $36 in room-service
hamburgers he said he bought the plaintiff and her girlfriend the
morning after they had consensual sex.
In a news release, Francis said at the time: “I won’t sit back and be
called a rapist. Rape is a very serious crime that I personally find
disgusting. As a son, and as the brother to three sisters I love very
much, I would NEVER have sex with a woman without her consent.”
I have two more calls to make, this time about me.
I phone Ementi Coary, a Melrose Park, Ill., police officer who
witnessed Francis roughing me up. He says he didn’t intervene at the
time because he had been told by “Girls Gone Wild” crew members that
Francis and I had “hooked up” and that we “had a thing going” and that
I was “just jealous.”
“I was under the impression that you guys knew each other, that
something was going on between you and that you guys were playing
around,” Coary says. “I changed my mind when he was grabbing your arm.
That didn’t look like playing around anymore.” That’s when Francis’
bodyguard physically separated us, escorting me to the edge of the
parking lot, and when Coary called for backup; a patrol car arrived
moments later. “He’s one of those guys who has money and does whatever he wants to,” Coary continues. “I would’ve been happy to put the guy in jail.” He had advised me to press charges that night, but I
Then I phone Leland Zaitz, who was working for Francis in Melrose Park
as a producer and was in the parking lot during the episode. Zaitz
says he interpreted the whole thing as Francis being affectionate
toward me, despite the fact that the pressure he applied was so
intense that hours later, my arms were covered in red hand marks.
“He starts having fun and he realizes that most people can’t keep up
with him and he gets a little rough. I think it was just Joe’s version
of being playful and goofy,” Zaitz says. “I think he was trying to
bring you in closer.”
When I think back on that night, our very public scuffle isn’t what
seems the most revealing. Instead, the moment I saw Francis most
clearlyâ€”his charm, his rage, his cunning and even his regretâ€”came
later, when no one was looking. I was waiting, still shaken, outside
the club for a cab to take me back to my hotel. Francis, who had
disappeared inside the bus, returned.
Ignoring the two policemen who hovered a few yards away, he tiptoed
past them to stand over me. He rubbed my shoulder. His gestures were
oddly gentleâ€”even fond. I felt sick.
“I’m sorry,” he said, reaching over to tousle my hair. “We love our
little reporter. Don’t we guys? We love our little reporter.”
I stared down at the dirt as he whispered in my ear, “I’m sorry, baby,
give me a kiss. Give me a kiss.”
if i injected my flesh with silicone
did hundreds of situps a day
wore lacey push up bras
got surgery to correct my Asian single-eyelid
wore subtle lipstick, concealer, & gloss
made my gaze bruised with shadow & mascara
wore dainty stilleto heels & flippy skirts
got some hips
would you buy me then?
does market follow demand, or demand follow market?
i want to be the white girls of your wet dreams with million-dollar
prosthetic bodies, $40,000 makeovers, features imprinted on your cock
by billion-dollar industries
I am beautiful in my mind
until you choose them instead
slap my ugliness to my face
and you tell me you don’t understand this kind of competition!
i didn’t write the rules
of this game you don’t recognize
you just follow the market, the ads, the art, the enterprize…
shaping the sadness of my sickness
Sisters, come together & incite
refugees of false dreams to unite.