Joe Francis: Civil Rights Advocate?

10.13.2009

By Jessanne Collins

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Over the years, Girls Gone Wild creator Joe Francis has been accused of a lot of things -- child abuse, rape, and the assault of an L.A. Times reporter to name just a few. But one thing he has never been mistaken for is a civil rights advocate. Suffice it to say his attendance at the National Equality March in D.C. this past weekend raised more than a few eyebrows. Was it a joke? A publicity stunt? A heartfelt motion for justice from a complicated individual? A conservative foil meant to equate equality with soft-core, soft-consensual pornography?

Reasoning aside, it's Francis's quip to the New York Post that's truly infuriating. "With the gay movement, it's personal. The same religious-right
[bleep]holes who took away my civil rights and put me in jail for a
year because they don't like what I do for a living have taken away gay
rights," he says. "I know firsthand how it feels to have your civil rights
stripped from you." Right, because "not being permitted to marry one's partner and receive rights and benefits accordingly" is exactly the same as "not being permitted to physically harm or sexually exploit other humans (or traffic drugs, run up gambling debts, or dodge taxes)."

Whether or not you consider making pornography a "civil right," there are plenty of millionaire pornographers who've never spent a day, never mind a year, in jail. Francis's issues aren't about his chosen profession, they're about his lack of respect for other people, particularly women. Case in point? To his impassioned political statement to the Post he feels the need to add a literal postscript: "P.S., lots of lesbians marched, too." Wink wink, dudebrah.

Far be it for us to decry genuine commitment to the cause, but before we'll welcome an endorsement from the likes of Joe Francis, he's going to have to come out -- as a human being with some concept of the term civility.

--JESSANNE COLLINS

Previously > Another View From the March

Tags: Popnography
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