Vivid Snatches Joe Francis Sex Tape Off the Market

LOS ANGELES — Vivid CEO Steve Hirsch purchased Joe Francis’ sex tape and returned it to the Girls Gone Wild founder to prevent the footage from being released to the general public.

"Because of the time-sensitive nature of the situation I made a decision to expedite the process and return the movie to its original owner," Hirsch told TMZ, explaining why he decided to act without the police.

The video, which Francis claims was stolen off his girlfriend and XXX co-star Abbey Wilson’s iPhone, was being shopped to various media outlets when Hirsch decided to snatch it off the market for an unknown price.

When the news of his leaked sex tape broke, Francis threatened to sue the culprits and said he was “desparately” trying to prevent its release.

According to TMZ, Hirsch and Francis are acquainted and Hirsch’s decision to block the video’s wide release was a gesture of friendship.