Joe Francis: 'Girls Gone Wild' Founder Shockingly Found Guilty Of Sexual Assault

Considering the founder of Girls Gone Wild Joe Francis was just convicted of assault and false imprisonment, it’s an ideal time to take a look at his colorful history. As shocking as it might sound, Francis didn’t actually enter show business with the sole purpose of seeing naked girls. His first film was called Banned from Television.

Released in 1998, it was nothing more than a series of violent scenes. What was banned from television soon became banned from sales (but not before making him a millionaire); and the shockumentary is actually banned in the United Kingdom. Apparently, it got to be too violent for Francis as well, and he started asking suppliers of the outrageous footage to just focus on sending him sex scenes.

In case you don’t know the plot intricacies of Girls Gone Wild, here’s a short description of a typical movie. A camera crew and an adult male host (often Francis) arrive at a party filled with young, drunk girls. Said girls remove their clothes, participate in wet T-shirt contests, or even have sex. If they are really lucky, the girls are invited back to the bus to be filmed on tour. There’s even a spin-off, Guys Gone Wild, where men expose themselves, though they occasionally jump on a bed tossing a football to maintain their manliness.

It may surprise you, but the creator of such a family-friendly film empire does not have the greatest personal history. His bad decisions reached an apex in early 2011; the 40-year-old took three girls celebrating their college graduation back to his LA home. An argument broke out and he grabbed one of the women and slammed her head into the floor.

Accordingly, he has been convicted of three counts of false imprisonment, one of assault, and one of deterring a witness. This would not be Francis’ first time in jail. He spent almost a year in jail back in 2009 for tax evasion. Apparently, the prison walls didn’t motivate Francis to stay on the straight and narrow and he pleaded guilty to bribing prison workers for extra food. 

But don’t worry; even if Girls Gone Wild may degrade women, it does so for charity. In 2005, following Hurricane Katrina, they released a film honoring Mardi Gras and pledged to donate all of its profits to help efforts to rebuild New Orleans. He pulled out all the stops…and breasts, to raise money for the relief efforts, selling “Girls Gone Wild: Doggystyle,” one of the most profitable videos of the company as part of the deal. And he does have Mardi Gras to thank for a considerable amount of his profits. Who knows what kind of footage he would have if girls didn’t have to flash strangers to get the exclusive privilege of hanging mass-produced beads around their neck. In fact, his first ever movie showed footage of indecent exposure in New Orleans.

But the dynasty of Girls Gone Wild is crumbling. In February, the company filed for bankruptcy and appears to be wildly in debt. Hopefully, Francis’ personal fortune is intact. Not only does sex sell, but it also makes multimillionaires. Francis’ net worth totals almost $177 million. How much does it cost to stay safe in jail?