Third Party & Independents Archives

Minors Gone Wild

What does America think of child exploitation?

We would like to think a lot. We have all heard of cases where child abusers, child molesters, and those involved in child porn (either those taping it or those owning it) have been convicted rightly and rightly sentenced seriously long sentences. But what happens when a Hollywood 'superstar' exploits children for profit?

Umm, not much really just a slap on the wrist.

The owner of Girls Gone Wild, Joe Francis, as well as his film company Mantra Films "pleaded guilty Tuesday to charges of failing to document and maintain records of the age and identity of various "performers," several of whom were minors, appearing in his salacious candid-camera video series" (1). For this offense Francis and the companies involved were forced to pay a total of $2.1 million dollars, hardly anything considering the Girls Gone Wild brand pulls in $40 million annually (1).

First I ask why the people who are caught with child porn are sent to jail and this scumbag is not. By this I am not advocating that the scumbags who are caught with child porn not be sent to jail, but instead am advocating that the scumbags making it and those companies involved be treated in the same manner. Secondly Joe Francis should have been sent to jail, undoubtedly, but what I would like to have seen is the court demand that the profits for any and all videos be taken from Francis and these companies. This would ruin him and his company, and this is what should happen. It needs to be set in stone that if you want to make money off the adult industry you use adults and not children, and if you use children you will be ruined.

1. http://news.yahoo.com/s/eo/20060912/en_celeb_eo/19992

Note: At the end of the sourced article it says that Francis faces other charges which have not yet gone to court, so he could go to jail or be further harshly fined, both of which I hope happens, but the fact remains as of today this was a slap on the wrist.

Posted by Richard Rhodes at September 14, 2006 12:20 AM
Comments
Comment #181182

While Joe Francis has little socially redeeming value, my main concern is an atmostphere of persecution over teenaged sexuality.

Like it or not, teenagers are and always have been sexually volatile and exploited.

If you watch cable news or news magazines, you may get the perception that sexual predators are growing at exponential rates. They aren’t. While I don’t condone predation on minors or even 40 year olds on 18 year olds, the ravings of people like Nancy Grace remind me too much of the Salem witch hunts.

As long as we use 19 and 20 year old women or younger as well as teenaged boys in underwear, music videos, and beer commercials there is more than a touch of hypocrasy there.

The excessive focus on the sick bastards who abuse and kill teens or children to boost ratings belies a sickness in our society and in our sexual attitudes.

I understand the response of parents towards these sickos…I just hope that reason and temperence reign in our courts and I would hope, at some point, our television execs.

Posted by: gergle at September 14, 2006 1:28 AM
Comment #181183

Another curiosity to me is why are virtually all the novels in Airports about Psycho Murders?

Posted by: gergle at September 14, 2006 1:32 AM
Comment #181186

They should either send Joe to jail for 10 years or, what would be worse, force him to make 20 “Monks Gone Silent” videos. I think he’d put a gun to his head by video 15 or 16.

Posted by: Ken Strong at September 14, 2006 1:58 AM
Comment #181188

Throw him in jail and lock away the key. Good riddance.

Posted by: Max at September 14, 2006 2:25 AM
Comment #181200

Richard:

I agree with you that we should use the law against these people, just as they use the laws to shield themselves whenever possible.

Personally, I think you go too far when you compare a 17 year old flashing her breasts to hard core kiddy porn. Nonetheless, it is law that it is mandatory for the Joe Francis’ of the world to document that they are using adults in their filming. The law doesn’t say you must try to use adults, that everyone must look like an adult, or even that you must (wink wink) ask the person if they are an adult. The law says you have to be sure they are an adult.

Let’s use the law as you said to figuratively bash in the head of the Joe Francis’ of the film industry. If they stay on the right side of the law, then they are protected, despite how repugnant their wares are. But when they step over the line, even unintentionally, then we should hit them and hit them hard.

Posted by: joebagodonuts at September 14, 2006 8:29 AM
Comment #181219

Frankly, it seems to me that this article and most of the comments have less to do with punishing a person for an actual crime, and more to do with using a technicality of the law as an excuse to punish someone whose wares you already found morally repugnant. The producer of the film in question has already been fined for his actions, but you are promoting the idea that he is a predator who should be thrown in jail merely because you disagree with his products, not because of actual harm done to those involved. Comments such as “throw him in jail and lock away the key” and “Let’s use the law as you said to figuratively bash in the head of the Joe Francis’ of the film industry. If they stay on the right side of the law, then they are protected, despite how repugnant their wares are. But when they step over the line, even unintentionally, then we should hit them and hit them hard.” demonstrate that this is not about seeking justice for the victims, but about using this excuse to punish someone you find morally objectionable even when he stays within the letter of the law.

Posted by: Jarin at September 14, 2006 10:01 AM
Comment #181230

Jarin,

Slaps on the wrist don’t help, that’s why I’m against lawsuit caps. Companies simply perform cost benefit analyses and continue to circumvent the law as is profitable.

Posted by: Max at September 14, 2006 10:50 AM
Comment #181241

Jarin:

Here’s an example of how I see this kind of issue. John Gotti, reputed boss of bosses in the Cosa Nostra, was put in jail for tax evasion. Because of his cleverness, and the manipulative skill of his well-paid attorneys, prosecutors were unable to convict him of illegal mob activity. But its pretty clear that he wasn’t just your ordinary owner of a plumbing company.

So prosecutors went after him with what they could. When he overstepped his grounds on taxes, the hit him hard. Much harder than they would hit you or I, since we are generally law abiding citizens. Gotti used the rules of law to avoid many convictions; the feds used the very same rules against him.

Joe Francis is, in my opinion, not a sexual predator, but he does deal in a rather repugnant industry. What he does is not illegal….IFFF he follows the rules. All I’m saying is that when you catch the guy outside the rules, I’m in favor of using those rules against him, and using them as firmly as possible.

Posted by: joebagodonuts at September 14, 2006 11:38 AM
Comment #181244

Joe:

You’re honestly drawing an analogy between someone being involved in organized crime, and someone legally makes adult movies? As you point out, Gotti was dealt with in that manner because there was no other way to get him. The fact that you hold the same view towards Francis suggests that you think he too needs to be “gotten” for his activities, despite them being within the bounds of the law while Gotti’s most certainly were not. You are passing a moral judgement on him and using the law as an excuse to do so.

Posted by: Jarin at September 14, 2006 11:43 AM
Comment #181271

The entire production distribution chain should be indicted. If distributors were indictable, they would force producers to comply with applicable law. Checks and balances, I know our country is moving away from them. But, it desperately needs to do an about face.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 14, 2006 1:10 PM
Comment #181280

Joe Francis is a scumbag. And so is anyone involved in the pornography industry.
But those that use only adults are not braking the law. While Francis is by using minors. And for that, and that alone, he should be locked up forever along with every other pile of garbage that sexually explots kids in any way.
The reason the law requires the industry to keep records of age is to insure that minors aren’t being exploted. By not keeping records and the fact that minors were used shows this piece of human waste has no regard for the law.


They should either send Joe to jail for 10 years or, what would be worse, force him to make 20 “Monks Gone Silent” videos. I think he’d put a gun to his head by video 15 or 16.

I’ll give 10 to 1 he’d be doing it by video 5.

Posted by: Ron Brown at September 14, 2006 1:39 PM
Comment #181299

One of the many broken aspects of our entire justice system is highlighted by a Texas Public Policy Foundation article this month (1) which talks about releasing violent unrehabilitated criminals out the backdoors of prisons to bring in the horde of non-violent new criminals freshly convicted - the vast majority being drug users and sellers.

This nation MUST debate and decide whether or not we are going to prioritize what we deem as criminal in this country and what kinds of crime deserve a place in our overcrowded and underfunded penitentiary system.

My (then) 12 year old daughter was forced into brief sexual contact with an adult male at her girlfriend’s house, 3 years ago. We filed charges. Just today, for the umpteenth time, we learned the trial had been postponed yet again. My daughter is now 15, and has worried for 3 years about the potential of this man trying to harm her in retalliation as he continues to walk free in her neighborhood. This justice system in America is broken, and these politicians who get reelected term after term after term, are the people responsible for it never getting fixed.

Voters! STOP waiting on them to fix it. They won’t as long as they keep getting reelected. It is up to you to start removing them from office in large numbers, and keep removing them election after election until the new guys start earning the right to be reelected by fixing our nation’s problems and making our future brighter, instead of dimmer.

(1) Excerpt from TPPF article:

Yet, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice recently requested $520 million in new money for 2008-09, mostly for three new prisons. While the request is not unreasonable given current criminal justice policy, it illustrates the need for change. The state projects more offenders will be sentenced to prison for longer sentences, due to rising crime, judges’ sentencing discretion, and, most of all, the punishments set by the legislature. Before taxpayers’ wallets are emptied to pay for another prison building spree, lawmakers should consider policy changes that emphasize alternatives to incarceration for nonviolent offenders.

And yes, porn industry use and enticements of minors IS A VIOLENT CRIME! They commit violence upon youth’s psychological, emotional, ethical, and moral well-being.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 14, 2006 3:45 PM
Comment #181382

My youngest daughter looks about 13 or 14. Mostly because she’s only 4’10” and really hasn’t physically developed beyond what a girl that age has.
She told me when she called Sunday that some scumbag solicited her for a kiddie porn movie. She said he lost interest when he found out she’s 22.
She told me that she reported the pieces of human waste to the police. The problem is there aint anything they can legally do because of her age. But they are going to keep an eye on the pile of trash in case he tries to solicit a girl that is underage.
Personally if it was left to me the asshole would be dead right now. But thank God my wife has a cooler head than I do.

Posted by: Ron Brown at September 14, 2006 11:53 PM
Comment #181479

I just wonder what we must do to repair the broken homes that produce these broken people who appear in porn movies,and the broken people who start out on a career in crime, do time in jail, and on release have effectively graduated, ready to become professionals. I know that raising this question seems utopian, but surely there must be a better way?

People who come from loving secure homes will rarely go down these roads, unless they come under malign influences outside their homes. Now, it may be that most people will blame the parents,, rightly no doubt, but that doesn’t really solve the problem. Maybe, after all, we are our brothers, and sisters, keepers. If only from a sense of self preservation. Maybe as a society, we need to invest in finding solutions to these problems, instead of fooling ourselves that locking them away in prison is a solution. If we look back over the centuries, I think most of us will agree that our societies are more civilised today, with greater supports than even existed for young people growing up. Its still nowhere near enough. If we invest, we get a real return, as long as its invested wisely; ie, based upon diligent research and trail and error.

Posted by: Paul in Euroland at September 15, 2006 11:32 AM
Comment #181677

Paul, breaking the cycle violence is a tough nut to crack, but, has been done. You are right, it takes a large investment. But, as long as we are bankrupting the treasury to foster corporate profits and invade nations to have a military footprint around oil we depend upon, it is unlikely such a commitment will be forthcoming.

Here in Texas, we release violent unrepentent criminals early every day to make room for the new incoming non-violent offenders ranging unpaid fines to drug posession. It is an issue which is beginning to unite liberals and conservatives to address the issue. So, perhaps, not all hope is lost.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 15, 2006 8:51 PM
Comment #182231

David,

The real issues are 1) Why does the Girls Gone Wild videos generate the millions it does? 2) Why our justice system rewards those who have money and can employ “crafty” legal representation? 3) Why underage girls feel that baring their breasts helps them to overcome, in their minds, an extremely low self esteem?

Look around us. We use young women for their sexuality in every medium available. We say “sex sells” and look past it. We are allowing those in power to continue to dictate what is acceptable on T.V., print, music and movies.
Who does the bare breast scenes in movies? 35 year olds or 20 year olds who are pretending to be in High School?
The large corporations who fund and produce these films and printed materials are the same entities who have bought our elected officials and stolen our Democratic government and replaced it with an unchecked, greed driven form of, capitalistic, monopoly heavy, bottom line vs. the consumer crappy government we have.
We must take control of our country. Then OUR will and ways will once again be a priority, not the bottom line of some mega-corporation who feels it can manipulate morality and dictate what is acceptable, all in the name of the mighty dollar.
This is not an opportunity to manipulate the law, as much as it is an opportunity to examine the factors that create such a disgusting industry.

Posted by: Andre M. Hernandez at September 18, 2006 9:11 AM
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