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Joe Francis gone wild! Amateur porn poster boy talks bailout and America’s hottest girls

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Despite being in Nevada last year, Francis (center) missed last year’s AVNs because he was in the clink.

Climbing up the Sands Convention center steps one day during the AVN Adult Entertainment Expo last week, someone caught my eye. Not, for once, a glamorous porn star flirting with indecent exposure.

He was the only fully-clothed man, besides Kid Rock, to distract me throughout the entire sextravaganza.

He ran halfway down the steps, paused to turn around on his tiptoes and make sure his cameraman was coming, bounded down and was off, his thick dark hair and trim figure lost in the crowds before someone shouted, "Hey! It's Joe Francis!"

Francis’ Girls Gone Wild bus, over-sized, white and shiny with blond girls and heavy cleavage painted on the side, was parked at the back of the AEE trade show for the weekend, taking a break from its usual cross-country hot chick-canvassing and soft porn high jinx to provide a photo-op for a nonstop stream of male fans.

Francis, his cameramen and a handful of tank top-flaunting girls were in town filming Girls Gone Wild Sexes Up Las Vegas, the latest DVD in a blockbuster series that has infiltrated the depths of almost every American male's sexual subconscious (check PPV in two months; you're welcome).

But the creator and CEO of Girls Gone Wild is currently getting attention for something other than sex.

Along with famed Hustler publisher Larry Flynt, Francis has requested a $5 billion dollar bailout from the United States government, "Just to see us through hard times," states Francis, in a press release sub-titled "The $13 billion industry is in no fear of collapse, but why take chances?"

"People are too depressed to be sexually active," claims Flynt. "This is very unhealthy as a nation. Americans can do without cars and such, but they cannot do without sex."

"I think people could always have more sex," says Francis, taking a less dramatic—but still amusing – standpoint. "Congress seems willing to help shore up our nation's most important businesses, we feel we deserve the same consideration. In difficult economic times, Americans turn to entertainment for relief. More and more, the kind of entertainment they turn to is adult entertainment."

Joe Francis and a girl almost gone wild.

DVD rentals and sales are indeed down (22% in the past year), but Internet use has sky rocketed, with the number of unique visitors to adult websites (including GirlsGoneWild.com and Hustler.com) clocking in at more than 75 million per month.

Cognizant of two facts – first, the adult entertainment industry is clearly far from floundering and second, that it is arguably nonessential – many people saw the stimulus request as a publicity stunt.

"Do I need any more publicity?" retorts Francis when I mention the possibility. "Everyone knows Girls Gone Wild.

"But I think it proves a point," he continues aggressively. "If the government is going to give a bailout to the automotive industry, then why not the adult entertainment industry? What's wrong with adult entertainment? It's a very important industry."

"The government is throwing money away on businesses that don't work. Larry and I create businesses that work. We could create more jobs than the automotive industry."

Along with creating a plethora of jobs (probably with requirements more based on physical appearance than college education) Francis claims that, if he and Flynt did get the $5 billion (Congress has yet to respond to their demand) they would make more adult films and develop other distribution channels.

"There are a lot of ancillaries in the adult entertainment business," he says.

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From the Archives
Porn industry after $5 billion federal bailout (1/7/09)
Beyond the Weekly
Joe Francis

However, the subtitle of Francis’ own press release argues against writing him a check – “The $13 billion industry is in no fear of collapse …” The logical conclusion is not “but why take chances,” but rather more along the lines of “so don’t worry about us.”

With or without the cash handout, Francis says he is planning to expand his successful line to include GGW-themed restaurants and strip clubs.

Strip clubs, a Vegas-filmed GGW – it seems that Francis loves our city. In fact, he may have enjoyed Las Vegas a little too much.

In June 2008 a lawsuit was filed by Wynn Las Vegas casino over $2 million in gambling debt that Francis had allegedly accrued starting in February 2007. Francis claims that he was deceived by the hotel and by Steve Wynn, and Wynn rejoined by suing Francis for defamation of character.

Francis declined to comment on the battle, but it may have tainted the formerly sweet taste of Vegas for the amateur film poster boy.

"I no longer gamble. I like Vegas … from the business standpoint," he qualifies. "Vegas blends business and fun."

Francis also dealt a blow to our collective confidence, when he named the American city with the hottest girls. "Ooh, that’s a hard one,” Francis said. “L.A.; because everyone wants to come out to be an actress. Then, Miami."

Where’s the love, Joe? Where’s the love?

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