GGW Parent Company, Francis Hit With Class-Action Complaint

Rhett Pardon
LOS ANGELES — Could it be the case of an employer gone wild?

In another legal setback for Girls Gone Wild parent Mantra Films, a former employee filed suit against the company claiming sexual harassment, sexual battery and various unfair business practices after a supervisor allegedly sexually harassed the plaintiff.

Tranae Hammond claims that shortly after she began working for Mantra Films she was the victim of repeated acts of sexual harassment by a company supervisor named as Ron (Hammond claims she doesn't know his last name).

The suit, which seeks class-action status, names Mantra, company owner Joe Francis and the supervisor named Ron.

Hammond, who has already filed a complaint with California’s Fair Employment and Housing department, said in the suit that Mantra’s management engaged in a “continuing and ongoing pattern and practice of unlawful sexual harassment” and “failed to make immediate and appropriate preventative or corrective action.”

“[The company] condoned and ratified [Ron’s] conduct by failing to criticize, terminate, suspend or otherwise sanction or take any action against Ron, once it was informed of Ron’s sexually harassing conduct toward [Hammond],” the suit said.

Hammond claims Ron touched and massaged her shoulders and arms, and had frequent conversations about sex in front of her. On at least one occasion, Ron allegedly "tapped [Hammond's] buttocks with a clipboard," the suit said.

Hammond alleges that after she made claims of sexual harassment, she was subjected to a "hostile environment" and was eventually terminated.

Torrance, Calif.-based attorney Matthew Matern, who represents Hammond in the case, did not return phone calls to XBIZ. Mantra officials also did not return calls by post deadline.

The suit, filed Monday in Los Angeles Superior Court, is not the first civil or criminal claim against Mantra or Francis.

Earlier this year, Francis was sentenced to 200 hours of community service and a $500,000 fine for his role in violating 18 U.S.C. § 2257 relative to “Girls Gone Wild” videos.

Other legal controversies surrounding Francis have included allegations of rape and sexual assault, as well as a drama in which he was kidnapped and allegedly tortured.

Mantra, which reportedly has revenue as much as $40 million annually, sells its “Girls Gone Wild” videos for as little as $10.