'Girls Gone Wild' goes bankrupt to dodge legal awards

9:47 AM, Mar 2, 2013   |    comments
(Photo: Dan Steinberg, AP)
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Michael Winter, USA TODAY

In a strategic move to protect itself from multimillion-dollar debts and legal awards, the company that produces the Girls Gone Wild videos has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

The company's videos feature college-age women drinking, exposing themselves or having sex, usually at parties, clubs and events.

GGW founder Joe Francis has lost high-profile lawsuits that have saddled his firm, GGW Brands, with more than $13 million in jury awards and $2 million in other debts. It listed its assets at less than $50,000.

He owes casino mogul Steve Wynn $10.3 million, including a $7.5 million slander award last year and a disputed $2 million gambling debt.

A St. Louis woman sued Francis' company in 2008 to collect $5.8 million she was awarded after claiming someone exposed her breasts in a bar for the Girls Gone Wild Sorority Orgy series.

GGW Magazine and GGW Events also filed for protection.

The company said the bankruptcy restructuring filing, made Wednesday in Los Angeles, will not affect its operations.

"Just like American Airlines and General Motors, it will be business as usual for Girls Gone Wild," the company said in a statement.

GGW Brands filed for bankruptcy "to restructure its frivolous and burdensome legal affairs," Francis' executive assistant said in an e-mail to Bloomberg News. She said Francis has not owned the company for two years.

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