Joe Francis built his Girls Gone Wild (GGW) empire (and the ego of an emperor) filming intoxicated college girls in various states of undress, putting that footage on VHS (and later DVDs and branded websites), and selling them to eager consumers across the globe. If you were alive and watching TV in the late 1990s and early aughts, those late-night infomercials undoubtedly made their way across your TV screen at some point, or you may have even purchased such classics as Girls Gone Wild: Mardi Gras Madness or Girls Gone Wild: Ultimate Spring Break.After more than 15 years of persuading drunken girls to take off their clothes for the camera, a legal dispute between Francis and casino mogul Steve Wynn caused the company behind GGW, along with two affiliates, to file chapter 11 bankruptcy petitions in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Los Angeles on February 27, 2013.At the time of the filings, Francis boasted to TMZ that the bankruptcy wouldn’t impact his personal wealth. GGW separately issued this statement:
“This Chapter 11 filing will not affect any of Girls Gone Wild’s domestic or international operations. Just like American Airlines and General Motors, it will be business as usual for Girls Gone Wild.”
The comparison of GGW to General Motors and American Airlines is, to say the least, head-scratching. After all, a bankruptcy filing doesn’t exactly confer titan-of-industry status—or make soft-core porn as American as apple pie.