TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Three local teenage girls are anonymously suing the maker of the “Girls Gone Wild” video series and video stores that carry a volume the girls claim shows them underage.
The three girls, who reportedly appeared topless volume eight of the series, were identified in Tuscaloosa Circuit Court Monday only as Jane Doe 1, Jane Doe 2 and Jane Doe 3. Their lawsuit claims they were filmed illegally in Panama City, Fla., two years ago while on spring break.
“They were 17 at the time, and although the video was made in Florida, the injury occurred in Alabama when the video was disseminated depicting the minors underage,” said the girls’ attorney, Shannon Hutchings.
She said the video amounts to child porn.
The girls, now 18, are suing Joe Francis, CEO of Mantra Films, which makes “Girls Gone Wild” videos. The girls claim they were never asked their age nor asked to sign a waiver.
“Telling them there wasn’t going to be a video, bringing large groups of guys to shout in the back to try and get them to take their top off, and basically, they fraudulently induced these girls, who were too young and inexperienced to understand the ramifications of their actions,” Hutchings said.
The attorney for the defense, Daniel Kaufmann, has a different take.
“We will say it’s patently unfair for whoever these people are to stay in a cloud of anonymity when they make public accusations against our clients,” he said.
Kaufmann said it is standard procedure for the video participants to sign a waiver or give consent on camera for the publication of their person. He can’t say whether it happened in this case, because he hasn’t yet found out the girls’ names, but that will be made known to him so he can investigate the charges. The judge has yet to rule whether the plaintiffs’ names will be made public.
Monday, seven of the 14 counts in the case were dismissed.
The plaintiffs’ attorney said there are about 15 similar cases against Francis and “Girls Gone Wild.” Several in Florida have resulted in criminal charges, she said.