Jury validates ‘Girls Gone Wild’ disgusting consent policy

Girls Gone Wild is disgusting. And the recent ruling that affirmed the company’s weak views on consent is equally disgusting.

A St. Louis woman sued the Girls Gone Wild company for damaging her reputation by showing her tank top being pulled down by someone else in one of their videos. The jury ruled in favor of the company, saying that her merely being in the bar and dancing around — with her clothes on — was her way of consenting to be on film, regardless of the fact that she didn’t ask to have her shirt pulled down.

C.L. Minou at Tiger Beatdown says it best when she talks about “implied consent” and the slippery slope it creates:

I mean, seriously: just how far does this go? Had GGW showed up to, oh, say, Le Bernardin, and some trashed suit was spending his bailout money on adult entertainers, and somehow a primly dressed female patron walked into the shot and had her dress ripped off…is that implied consent? Does a $180 prix fixe somehow mitigate the implications of consent in the way that a $3 PBR doesn’t? Because to be honest, what is the difference? Why should it matter if you dance or you don’t, if your skirt is shorter than your belt or brushes your ankles? How in the hell can clothing or location or body movements override a direct refusal to consent?

It doesn’t matter what you’re wearing, what bar you’re in, or how you’re dancing — when you say, “No,” that’s more crystal clear than any vague signals that you might allegedly be sending in your clothes or body language. Those things can be misread, because what you think of them is an assumption and an implication — someone saying “No” is a direct statement. But it’s just one example of the Girls Gone Wild bizarre theory of consent.

I’ve actually watched a Girls Gone Wild tape, and it was horrifying. And not just because of what you see on the infomercials, but because of the more graphic and intimate scenes where the producers coerce the girls on camera to take off their clothes, touch themselves, or touch their friends. Some of the girls are quite willing, and others are visibly distraught, uncomfortable, and obviously pressured.

Watching the scenes with the intense coercion is sickening — these producers use the alcohol in these girls’ systems to their advantage, and it’s not like these girls are playfully being coy — the looks on their faces scream, “I do not want to be here.” But there is a camera in their face, men standing around urging them to touch themselves or touch their friends, and the pressure to do what everyone else wants always seems to win.

What kind of consent is that? Sure, the girl eventually and reluctantly agrees, but she agrees to do things that she wouldn’t have done on her own, and that she wouldn’t have done without several people repeatedly and incessantly urging her to do. But this is technically consent, and it’s how Girls Gone Wild gets many girls to do things on-camera that they likely don’t feel comfortable doing.

The new ruling just adds to this disturbed view of consent — not only is it OK for these producers to coerce intoxicated women into sexual acts on-camera, but it’s also OK for them to show video of someone being sexually assaulted. Someone pulling down your shirt and exposing your breasts without your permission? Yeah, that’s sexual assault. So can producers either encourage others or themselves go around to bars and pull clothes off women, simply because their presence at the bar somehow implies they want to get naked for the camera?

Or what about going further? Can they further sexually assault these women, because their dancing around/revealing clothing/alcohol drinking is an implication that they want to have sex? This ruling is completely ridiculous and also very dangerous, because it gives people the right to violate women simply on the pretense of, “Well, she was asking for it.” I guess not only do women need to stop walking around alone at night because that’s asking to get assaulted, but now women can’t go to bars or clubs anymore because that’s inviting assault, too.

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2 Responses to “Jury validates ‘Girls Gone Wild’ disgusting consent policy”

  1. Kyle Says:

    I’ll tell you why the court ruled with GGW, its because she actually doesn’t have to give consent on private property, or in public for that matter.

    If she were in a public space like a street or park and this happened, GGW can document it also in public space and use it. Because it’s in public, she has no expectation of privacy.

    In a private space (I’m assuming this was a bar) if the property owner gives them permission to film, she again has no say, as long as it’s known they’re there. By entering this club knowing this filming was occurring, she implied consent to be filmed and therefore loses her expectation of privacy.

    First amendment law was never intended to be used this way, but unfortunately, it has…

  2. Rebecca B Says:

    This case fascinates me as a future lawyer, even though it horrifies me as a woman. I’m hunting around for the opinion to see how it ended up. I definitely see this getting overturned on appeal.

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