Girls Gone Wild founder Joe Francis has been a bit sue-happy these days. When the website Gawker named him “Douche of the Decade” (and alleged he was a rapist), he sent a vicious letter and promised to take the blog to court. And when a Playboy model echoed what she described as a physical assault by Francis at a Hollywood nightclub, he sued her for defamation.
Well, on Monday a Los Angeles Superior Court judge threw out Francis' suit, finding, among other things, that his lascivious videos provide an opening for the discussion of how women like the plaintiff, Jayde Nicole, have been treated by Francis; that he's a public figure who draws protected speech; and that his confrontation with Nicole was an incident of public interest.
Nicole had told a celebrity website that Francis “grabbed my hair and he punched me in the face … he pushed me to the ground … he kicked me in my stomach and my chest … and (neck).” (It wasn't like she was calling him a rapist … or a douche).
Francis' action was actually a countersuit. Nicole's original suit against Francis surrounding an August confrontation at the Guys and Dolls club will go forward. Her filing alleges that Francis attacked her and she ended up with a “black eye, swollen face, bruised ribs, sore and bruised abdomen region, bruised arms and legs, ripped-out hair and utter emotional distress and humiliation.” Francis maintains that Nicole and her boyfriend were the aggressors in the incident and that club security video will back him up.
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