Ashley Dupre, Spitzer's Kristen, Sues "Girls Gone Wild" For $10M
MIAMI — The call girl linked to the downfall of former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer sued the founder of the "Girls Gone Wild" series on Monday for $10 million, claiming he exploited her image and name to advertise the racy videos.
Ashley Alexandra Dupre, 22, contended in the lawsuit that she was only 17 _ too young to sign legally binding contracts _ and drunk on spring break in 2003 when she agreed to be filmed for "Girls Gone Wild" in Miami Beach.
Dupre "did not understand the magnitude of her actions, nor that her image and likeness would be displayed in videos and DVDs," says the lawsuit filed by Miami attorney Richard C. Wolfe.
The lawsuit filed in federal court in Miami names as defendants "Girls Gone Wild" founder Joe Francis, two of his companies and a man purportedly involved in creation of two Internet sites that the lawsuit contends improperly use Dupre's image to sell DVDs and other products.
Francis, 35, has built a soft porn empire filming and marketing videos of young women exposing their breasts and being shown in other sexually provocative situations, often at public events such as Mardi Gras or spring break beach locales.
Dupre gained notoriety in March when it came out that she was the high-priced call girl named "Kristen" named in court documents who was hired by Spitzer for at least one tryst at a posh Washington hotel. Spitzer, known as "Client 9" in the documents, resigned as New York governor a few days after the scandal broke.
Francis made a public $1 million offer for Dupre to appear in a "Girls Gone Wild" video and go on a promotional tour, then rescinded the offer after he realized he already had footage of Dupre from 2003. Dupre's lawyer warned she was only 17 when the video was shot, not 18 as Francis claimed.
Francis said in March that Dupre spent a week on a "Girls Gone Wild" bus and made seven full-length tapes after signing release papers. He also said he bought her a bus ticket home to North Carolina. Francis said he was surprised by the lawsuit.
"It is incomprehensible that Ms. Dupre could claim she did not give her consent to be filmed by Girls Gone Wild, when in fact we have videotape of her giving consent, while showing her identification," Francis said in a statement.
He said the photos were taken "in front of a room full of people, including two newspapers and multiple crews we had in the room." Francis also said he would be happy to discuss the $1 million offer with her again.
The lawsuit claims Dupre is the victim of unfair trade practices, false advertising and unauthorized use of her likeness. Francis is no stranger to legal problems in Florida. He spent a year in jail and was released in March after pleading no contest to child abuse and prostitution charges for filming underage girls in the Panhandle beach town of Panama City. Four women who claim they were 17 or younger when filmed have filed lawsuits there against Francis.
Francis also faces federal tax evasion charges in California. Prosecutors say companies controlled by Francis claimed more than $20 million in phony deductions in 2002 and 2003 and that Francis used offshore accounts to conceal income.
By CURT ANDERSON