Joe Francis Lawsuit Becomes Awkward Free Speech Test Case

Girls Gone Wild founder and certified douchebag Joe Francis is currently being sued by four women who say Francis coerced them into appearing in his X-rated films when they were underage. Well, that's now a free speech battle. How respectable!

See, the women suing Francis were from 13-17 years old when they were filmed, and they want to keep their real names anonymous during this lawsuit. A judge rejected that; the women appealed. Now, newspaper and press organizations are fighting for the names to be made public.

John Bussian, a lawyer for Florida Freedom Newspapers Inc., which owns dozens of U.S. newspapers, argued that the press and public have an interest that stands at an "equal footing with a defendant" when such a lawsuit reaches the trial stage.

"It ought to be up to the press to manage this information - and not up to the courts," he argued.

While we agree with the newsworthiness of knowing the parties to various court cases, we'd never argue for it by asserting that "It ought to be up to the press to manage this information," because, as members of the press, we'll tell ya, the press is generally a bunch of sensationalist dirtbags. Freedom-supporting ones, though.

This is the most consequential thing Joe Francis has ever been involved in!

[Photo via Getty Images]