A jury ruled yesterday against a woman who claimed her reputation was damaged after she was featured on a "Girls Gone Wild" video. What makes this case remarkable is that she didn't expose her own breasts - she was assaulted.
STLToday reports that the woman, identified only as Jane Doe, was dancing in at the former Rum Jungle bar in 2004 when someone reached up and pulled her tank top down, exposing her breasts to the "Girls Gone Wild" camera. Jane Doe, who was 20 at the time the tape was made, is now living in Missouri with her husband and two children. She only found out about the video in 2008, when a friend of her husband's saw the "Girls Gone Wild Sorority Orgy" video and recognized her face. He called up her husband, and in what has got to be the most awkward conversation ever, informed him that his wife's breasts were kinda famous.
The woman sued Girls Gone Wild for $5 million in damages. After deliberating for just 90 minutes on Thursday, the St. Louis jury came back with a verdict in favor of the smut peddlers. Patrick O'Brien, the jury foreman, explained later to reporters that they figured if she was willing to dance in front of the photographer, she was probably cool with having her breasts on film. They said she gave implicit consent by being at the bar, and by participating in the filming - though she never signed a consent form, and she can be heard on camera saying "no, no" when asked to show her breasts.
"I am stunned that this company can get away with this," said Jane Doe after the ruling. "Justice has not been served. I just don't understand. I gave no consent." When she heard what O'Brien had said, she tearfully added, "I was having fun until my top was pulled off. And now this thing is out there for the world to see forever."
So let this be a lesson to us all. "Consent" is a flexible thing - at least in the eyes of the St. Louis courts. No means yes, and assault means it's okay to roll the cameras. If there were ever a time to get righteously angry, it's now.
Update: The River Front Times blog has nominated Jane Doe for their "Ass Clown of the Week" award, which is given to the person "whose words or actions you thought brought them the most shame this week."
Mo. Woman Loses Lawsuit Over 'Girls Gone Wild' Video [STL Today]
Girls Gone Wild Wins Lawsuit [River Front Times]
Ass Clown Of The Week [River Front Times]