We were worried that naming Joe Francis Gawker's Douche of the Decade might go to the drunk-girls-with-low-self-esteem kingpin's head. Would he simply rest on his laurels and give up the pursuit of douche perfection? Luckily, Francis has not failed us.
Last night, Francis emailed a nastygram (with a prize inside!) to our vacationing overlord Nick Denton, myself, three attorneys (Cyrus J. Nownejad, Brad Brian, David P. Schack), and for good measure two media contacts: Mike Waters, the news manager at TMZ, and Richard Johnson, the editor of the New York Post's Page Six. Francis is threatening to file lawsuit today over his Douche of the Decade award, claiming that he's lost a $10 million contract because we used the word "rapist" in the bio accompanying the prize. (Last week, when Francis' company lawyer Terry Yeom wrote his own letter, this mysterious lost bit of business only amounted to $4 million.) Here's the missive in full:
It falls to Gawker Media's legal honcho Gaby Darbyshire to handle complaints like these. In her reply to Yeom, she pointed out that there are about 140,000 Google search results for "joe francis rapist," including his Wikipedia page. And the old Defamer post we linked to last week is based on a 2006 Los Angeles Times profile of Francis by Claire Hoffman in which an 18-year-old girl gives an on the record account of Francis having sex with her on the Girls Gone Wild bus despite her repeatedly saying no. The whole thing is really worth a read. As Gaby wrote, "frankly, let's face it — given his chosen career and his actions to date, it would be hard to say that your client really has any reputation of social probity and standing to damage at this point, now does he?"
We're sorry that Gaby had to take time during her Christmas break to deal with this. But we are relieved that Francis hasn't let success temper what got him to the top of the douche heap. Shine on, you big beautiful oozing boil of a human being!
Update: Okay, fine. After some consideration, we're sorry for calling you a "rapist" since you are more accurately "an alleged rapist." After all, we've never seen you doing the raping, only read about it.