Thursday, December 14, 2006

Girls Gone Wild Founder Given Community Service

AP


The guilty pleas by Mantra Films Inc. and its multimillionaire founder, Joe Francis, stem from the company's use of two 17-year-olds in its DVDs and videos, which feature young women baring their breasts in public. The videos at issue were filmed on Panama City Beach during spring break in 2003.

U.S. District Judge Richard Smoak ordered Francis to read aloud in court a victim impact statement from one of the women, who said she was emotionally tormented by her appearance on a "Girls Gone Wild" video and that the video damaged her relationship with her family.

Smoak told Francis he added the community service because it did not appear a fine would be a meaningful punishment. The fine represents less than 3 percent of Mantra's profits since 2002 and only 12 percent of Mantra's 2005 profits, Smoak said.

When I read the headline my first reaction was that community service was merely a slap on the wrist, but as I've thought about it, I agree with the judge that the sentence needed to include more than a fine. It seems like so many companies operate with the assumption that the profit will always outway the fine. Breaking the law too often remains good business if your only metric is cash.

The question then becomes whether the community service is meaningful either in effort (picking up garbage, for example) or in getting people out of their insular environments. Going to celebrity charity events shouldn't count.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 12:02 AM   0 comments links to this post

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