Police: ‘Girls Gone Wild’ Mogul Is Probed for Rape
Police say they are probing allegations by a Texas woman he invited to his South Beach hotel room earlier this month.
Francis, who owns Santa Monica, Calif.-based Mantra Entertainment, sells “Girls Gone Wild” directly to customers it lures with TV ads, infomercials and an interactive website. Last year the company sold a reported 4.5 million videos and DVDs, selling for up to $19.99 each.
A spokesman for Francis told the Miami Herald he was in Miami Beach to promote his business the weekend of March 12 but denied the alleged crime took place.
“He only had consensual sex. He did not rape anyone,” spokesman Terry Fahn told the Herald. “Joe is willing to take a lie detector test to prove it if necessary. He's curious to see if the person making the allegations would do the same.''
According to a police report, the 21-year-old woman told police she met Francis at the Di Lido Beach Club inside the Ritz-Carlton on South Beach.
The woman, a college student, told the paper that she had three drinks at the bar -- a shot of tequila and two mixed cocktails. Then, at Francis' invitation, she and her friend went up to his hotel room.
Police say that she later blacked out, and she believes she may have been drugged.
After waking in bed beside Francis in the morning, the woman claims, she said she drove herself to a clinic.
The “Girls Gone Wild” producer made headlines last year when he and several of his employees were arrested in Panama City after parents complained that their underage daughters were filmed in his videos.
Prosecutors said that underage girls were filmed showing their breasts and performing sex acts. That case is still pending.
Francis, 30, has made millions with his “Girls Gone Wild” series.
The producer owns four homes -- two in the Los Angeles area, as well as a Lake Tahoe, Nev., ski retreat and a 37,000-square-foot home in Mexico.
He got started on his production career after graduating USC, marketing such videos as “Banned From Television,” which featured TV bloopers and gaffes. That year, in 1997, he made $10 million from the show.