Girls Gone Wild founder Joe Francis is on the losing side of a legal in his lawsuit against Playboy Playmate Jayde Nicole.
In a SLAPP suit (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation) hearing tied to the Jayde Nicole vs. Joe Francis dispute, a judge has thrown out part of Francis' claim.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, Francis' defamation claim stemmed from Playboy model Jayde Nicole claiming Francis punched her. Francis claimed the woman libeled and slandered him, as well as painted him in a false light.
His complaint was dismissed by Judge Mark V. Mooney of the Los Angeles Superior Court. The judge found that Jayde Nicole's comment were protected speech as it related to the topic of Francis objectifying and exploiting young women.
The ironic twist in the case is that Francis has been on has been on the receiving end of lawsuits by girls claiming exploitation.
As a public figure, for someone to defame Joe Francis, they would have to do so with actual malice. Here, the court dismissed Francis' claim, finding that Francis failed to prove that Jayde Nicole acted with actual malice.
The judge ruled that because Francis is a public figure, Nicole's allegations are relevant to a matter of public interest.
What is a SLAPP suit?
It is an acronym which stands for strategic lawsuits against public participation.
A type of retaliatory lawsuit, SLAPP suits are intended to silence, intimidate, or punish those who have used public forums to speak, petition, or otherwise move for government action on an issue.
In general, the legal system considers SLAPP suits to exemplify how the law can be used to intimidate and threaten citizen involvement and public participation.
Currently, Francis faced up to $80,000 in attorney's fees, which are mandatory to a prevailing victim of a SLAPP suit in California.