‘Girls Gone Wild Exposed’: shocking rape, abuse allegations

The early 2000s were a crazy time for self-proclaimed “party girl” Jannel.

With a badass lip piercing, rock star-like locks and a petite frame, the vivacious 18-year-old was a fixture on the Chicago nightlife scene.

But the club’s resounding anthems reached a shrill high at around 2:30 a.m. on August 25, 2006.

That’s when Jannel claims ‘Girls Gone Wild’ creator Joe Francis brutally raped her in the back of his logo tour bus, which was parked near Chicago’s Club Envy, where they had parties earlier in the evening.

She claims Francis picked her on the crowded dance floor, fed her booze ‘like it was water’, complimented her endlessly and then invited her on the bus – where she assumed the worst she would be asked to do was flash her boobs. in front of a “Girls Gone Wild” camera.

Launched in 1997, “Girls Gone Wild” grossed $20 million in its first two years of operation.
WireImage for Girls Gone Wild

Instead, she says, she was forced to “touch” herself with items he had stored on the sleeper bus in a bedside dresser drawer. Then Francis allegedly jumped on her.

“He kept trying to kiss me and say, ‘It’s gonna be okay, it’s gonna be okay. And I was like, ‘Drop me, drop me,'” Jannel says in ‘Girls Gone Wild Exposed,’ the first episode of TNT’s new true-crime anthology series ‘Rich & Shameless,’ airing Saturday.” He basically forced himself on me, and it hurt because I wasn’t ‘excited,’ so it really hurt. . . He took hold of me. I was this 100 pound little girl. I didn’t give my consent that night, and he totally raped me. And then he left me like I was trash.

Directed by Katinka Blackford Newman, known for denouncing Big Pharma with the non-fiction book ‘The Pill That Steals Lives’, the TNT show pulls back the curtain on the ‘Girls Gone Wild’ machine. What was sold as sexy, sun-kissed hedonism for Spring Break 2000 — and even sex-positive female empowerment — was in fact, according to Blackford Newman, darkly exploitative and sinister. And despite having high profile fans and friends, Francis was a cruel and abusive playmaker.

Guests during Girls Gone Wild and Coochie Power Mardi Gras 2004
Guests at Girls Gone Wild and Coochie Power Mardi Gras in 2004.
WireImage Weekly Magazine for Us

“Behind the fun, the wet t-shirt competitions and the fake feminist liberation centered around flashing your boobs on camera, lives have been ruined,” Blackford Newman told the Post.

“Young women like Jannel thought Joe Francis was okay because he was hanging out with celebrities,” the Emmy-nominated filmmaker continued. “No one would believe that someone who rubs shoulders with the Kardashians, Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston could be a violent abuser and criminal.”

(Joe Francis did not immediately respond to The Post’s request for comment.)

Launched in 1997, “Girls Gone Wild” grossed $20 million in its first two years of operation. In 2004, the never-ending boob-centric party was raising $100 million a year, and many celebrities were part of the party.

The documentary features footage of Pitt talking about being a fan of the videos and noting that Aniston gave him some as a gift.

Kourtney Kardashian, Joe Francis, Khloe Kardashian, Kim Kardashian arrive at the Girls Gone Wild magazine launch party in April 2008 in West Hollywood, California.
Kourtney Kardashian, Joe Francis, Khloe Kardashian and Kim Kardashian arrive at the Girls Gone Wild magazine launch party in April 2008 in West Hollywood, California.
Getty Images

But the wild good times that the “GGW” videos depicted were actually terrible for many women on the other side of the camera.

Blackford Newman recounted footage from the documentary in which a Francis employee tricks barely legal, inebriated women into shooting gay pornography. An off-camera man can be heard training three women to give each other oral sex and make sexy sounds as he films.

One of the women confusedly asks, “My parents won’t see that, will they?”

“It literally makes my stomach turn,” Blackford Newman, a mother of teenagers in her 50s, said of the footage. “It could have easily been my children. Famous guys who are friends with the Kardashians come in with a camera, ask them to sign something, they’re drunk and don’t know what they’re doing, and bam [their sex tape] is here for the next 20 years.

dancing women
‘Girls Gone Wild’ filming in Boston in an undated photo.
MediaNews Group via Getty Images

Much of the 90-minute documentary is devoted to Francis’ sordid story and his twisted journey from troubled teenager to coal-trafficking superstar to accused child pornographer, sex abuser and domestic violence offender.

A social outcast who had to be sent back to boarding school for bad behavior in the late 1980s, he was heralded as the Hugh Hefner of the new millennium during the heyday of “Girls Gone Wild.” Then, in 2003, he was arrested for child pornography for allegedly filming two underage girls having sex in the shower. He was also accused of forcing a pair of 17-year-olds to massage his penis. That same year, a woman named Michelle Padilla filed a federal lawsuit against Francis for nonconsensually pasting her topless photo on “Girls Gone Wild” DVD covers and props.

In 2007, he was arrested in contempt of court for telling opposing counsel in his child pornography case to “suck my d–k.” That same year, he reportedly advised his good friend Kim Kardashian how to make the most of her leaked sex tape.

“Young women like Jannel thought Joe Francis was okay because he was hanging out with celebrities,” director Katinka Blackford Newman told The Post.
Courtesy of TNT

francis served 11 months in a Reno, Nevada, jailed for tax evasion of $20 million in 2009, while celebrity fans like Kardashian supported him, sporting a “Free Joe” t-shirt in public. While in jail in Reno, Francis also concurrently served his 339-day sentence in the child pornography case.

In the years that followed, he avoided the legal consequences of a series of alleged assaults on women and a Thanksgiving Day attack on his elderly parents, Raymond and Maria, who eventually obtained a restraining order from five years against him in September 2011.

Then in August 2020, Francis spent 73 days in a Mexican prison for allegedly brutalizing his estranged girlfriend and the mother of his now 7-year-old twin daughters, Abbey Wilson, whom he first met when she won her 2012 Girls Gone Wild: America’s Sexiest Girl Contest.

Blackford Newman said the audio of her alleged attack on Wilson at her Casa Aramara resort in Punta Mita, Mexico in 2020 was “the most incredibly chilling footage” she uncovered during her research.

The Girls Gone Wild Tour performed at Tequila Frogs on South Padre Island, Texas in March 2003.
The Girls Gone Wild Tour performed at Tequila Frogs on South Padre Island, Texas in March 2003.
PA

“When you hear a story of abuse, that’s one thing,” Blackford Newman said. “But when you actually hear someone being beaten…it’s absolutely scary.”

In a recorded call to resort security, which is featured in the documentary, Wilson is heard shouting, “You scare me. Joe, stop. Stop that. You hurt me, you kill me. To which Francis – who at the time had tested positive for COVID-19 – responds by shouting, “Good. I hope you f – – king die. You f – – king bitch,” before spitting in her face.

Wilson is now said to be raising their daughters “underground”, beyond Francis’ reach and without his financial support. Francis, now 49, is living as a fugitive in Mexico to escape battery and bogus charges of imprisonment.

Blackford Newman told the Post that she reached out to more than 100 friends of Francis, including rising social activist Kardashian, for comment on his alleged reign of terror, but no one responded. (Representatives for Brad Pitt, Kim Kardashian and the Kardashian family did not immediately respond to requests for comment from The Post.)

The documentary maker hopes her talk will serve as a reminder to the Kardashians and other bigwigs to be more aware of the company they have.

“Younger, impressionable women, like Jannel. . . trusts Joe Francis because of his fame [affiliation],” she says. “[These celebrities] need to understand that they have a responsibility that if they befriend abusive child pornographers like Joe Francis, they give them credibility.

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