A federal judge in Trenton has ordered the owners of the ‘Girls Gone Wild‘ pixelated-flesh empire to pay $3 million to a 27-year-old woman whose identity was misused in a raunchy video featuring a teenaged Ashley DuPré, according to a report by Cliffview Pilot.
DuPré, also 27, whose paid assignations with Eliot Spitzer five years ago ended his governorship of New York, was not a party to the ruling, though she was a original defendant in the lawsuit, according to federal court records. She now owns Femme By Ashley, a lingerie and swimwear shop in downtown Red Bank.
Here’s the backstory on the 2008 lawsuit filed by Amber Arpaio, according to the Cliffview Pilot, a Bergen County website specializing in law enforcement issues:
A federal judge in Trenton refused to nullify an earlier court judgment against Joseph Francis, Mantra Films and MRA Holding, in which Amber Arpaio alleged that Dupré falsely claimed to be her in a “Girls Gone Wild” video that drew widespread attention after The New York Times reported that Spitzer was caught on a federal wiretap arranging to meet Dupre at a Washington, D.C. hotel. He resigned two days later.
Dupré, in turn, became “the most famous prostitute in America.” Hoping to capitalize on her sudden stardom, the Mantra Films group offered her $1 million to pose for a magazine feature and participate in a “Girls Gone Wild” promo tour.
The offer was withdrawn after Francis discovered video of Dupré from five years earlier, when she want on a “GGW” bus tour.
Dupré sued Francis over the video, saying she was only 17 at the time and didn’t understand what a legal release was. Francis responded by releasing a video of her, covered only in a towel, saying she is 18 and agreeing to participate.
Her name, she says on the video, is Amber Arpaio. A shot is then shown of a New Jersey driver’s license with Arpaio’s name on it.
Dupré dropped the case.
Soon after, Arpaio brought her own, claiming invasion of privacy, misappropriation, unauthorized use and defamatory injury, among other counts.
A judge previously awarded the settlement following a hearing that included testimony from Arpaio, her father, and an “expert on the dissemination of information through the Internet” that showed she had suffered emotional distress from “being mistaken as somehow affiliated with Dupre or ‘Girls Gone Wild.’
“She also expressed fear that any future employment is jeopardized because an Internet search would be conducted upon application; and, further, that she is apprehensive that, were she to have children, they would be exposed to the insulting material.”
The expert showed how a simple Google search of Arpaio’s name produced more than 130,000 hits connected to sites that mostly contained porn.
“[T]he public light [that the posting of the Internet video] has cast upon the Plaintiff is not only international in scope, but also is one wholly and irrevocably tied [to] the rawest of pornography and all things otherwise appealing to the prurient interest,” the expert contended.
“Given the unique nature of the Internet,” he added, “this branding is for life.”
On Tuesday, federal District Judge Joel Pisano rejected a request from the defendants that he vacate his March, 2011 judgment.
DuPré settled out of the case early on, according to Arpaio’s lawyer, Joseph P. Fell of Morristown. She was unavailable for comment Thursday, said an employee of her three-month-old Broad Street store.
Fell said the $3 million judgment was “consistent with the improper conduct” and that Pisano’s opinion on the request “demonstrated the true character of Mr. Francis.”
Arpaio, he said, is “a very low key, professional young lady that is not in the public light, nor does she want to be. And from an emotional standpoint, this has taken it’s toll.”
Fell said lived in Stillwater, New Jersey at the time her identity was misused.