Joel Stein's story about the jailbound Joe Francis in the April GQ begins with Joe remembering the first time they met one another, six years ago; God it was great. They'd been in the Girls Gone Wild tour bus, watching the crew tape some chick on a bunk bed. Joe had told Joel to fill a Mike's Hard Lemonade bottle with water, and the girl poured it on her tits and shoved the neck of the bottle in her pussy, and sometime around then her cell phone rang. The number, she said, was her boyfriend's. So Joe Francis flipped it open gleefully — you can almost see him doing it — and announced his identity and that he was watching the caller's girlfriend shove a Mike's Hard Lemonade up her vagina. "His eyes went manic," Joel recalls of the moment, and no doubt they went manic again in fond memory of the event, because now he is in jail, although we can't seem to get rid of him, as evidenced by his charming statements touting his footage of famed Spitzer hooker Ashley Dupre at the tender age of 17: "Our footage is from when she was 18-years-old, and it doesn't get much better than that. Eliot Spitzer has put some miles on that girl!" But wait, the depressing part is here:
All the local Florida papers and Web sites are clogged with ads telling people to visit Meetjoefrancis.com, where they are directed to write a letter to Florida governor Charlie Crist, who has been so bombarded that he called Francis's lawyer and said he'd look into the case.
Dear Florida Governor Charlie Crist, Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum & the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE):
As a citizen who cares deeply about due process and justice in our country, I am very concerned about the set of circumstances surrounding Joe Francis' criminal charges and incarceration without bail. At the very least there is the appearance of wide spread [sic] misconduct by public officials, including possible illegal acts enacted by officials such as State Attorney Steve Meadows in an effort to put Mr. Francis in jail and deprive him of his rights.
My concern in this matter is neither an approval nor disapproval of Girls Gone Wild as a lifestyle brand, but rather a concern that Florida public officials are using their own personal beliefs in order to selectively prosecute someone whom they disagree with.
For this reason I urge you to call upon the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to conduct an impartial investigation of the events surrounding the charges that have been brought against Joe Francis - both criminal and civil, beginning in 2003 and continuing into the present - and the forced civil settlement so that the public officials in Bay County will either be exonerated from any taint of impropriety, or be held accountable for any misdeeds.
Francis says jail is totally different from what he'd expected from movies. He's seen only one fight and hasn't heard of any sexual assaults. "Nothing will ever happen to me in jail. I'm a god. I'm the cool Girls Gone Wild guy. I'm revered. I'm a rock star," he says. Still, he avoids the other inmates, often going a week without talking to one. "The one thing I fear is one of these fucking people showing up at my house. I'm a different class. They're dumb. They're the people you see on Cops. Those are the people you see in jail."