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It was a game of who’s worse, the porn purveyor or the mafia? The answer always changes depending on who is being asked the question. Though there was a moment in time when Joe Francis, creator of the Girls Gone Wild franchise, was believed to be the lesser of the two evils, now the man responsible for the incident that softened Francis’ image, even for a few days, is revealing why he committed the crimes that led to him serving jail time.
Riley Perez is the man who broke into Francis’ Home and forced him to pose for a video that would be used to extort him later on, back in 2004. The video featured Francis using a dildo on himself. According to sources who have seen the video, it shows “a shirtless male figure lies face down on a mattress, his head resting on a pillow. His eyes flutter at half-mast.” The camera pans down Francis’ body and reveals that his pants are off, and there is “a pink vibrator resting on the crest of his buttocks, lazily gyrating with an irritating whine.” The piece de la reisstance, though, is the man formally introducing himself, “My name is Joe Francis, I’m from Boys Gone Wild, and I like it up the ass.” It should be noted that there is nothing erotic about this video as with the way Francis acts, it is obvious that he is under duress, the source contends. The motive seems to be an obvious money grab.
When Perez, also known as Darnell Riley, went to trial there was no mention that he was working for anyone else. In fact, Perez pled guilty to a number of charges, in exchange for multiple other counts being dismissed. The Source reveals “Riley admitted breaking into the victim's home on Jan. 22, 2004.” For his part, Francis seemed fine to accept that the man who tried to blackmail him for $500,000 would ultimately only go to jail for a while and be a free man again.
Perez is now a free man and has written about the experience. In his book (which won’t be named here), he says that Francis was a target of the mob. According to the convict mob boss, Matty Ianniello had the marching orders: “I was asked to rough him up. I worked with guys, if they told you to do something, you don’t ask questions.” Of course, Ianniello died in 2012. There’s no way to corroborate the allegation.
While some of Francis’ loved ones are outraged that the person who victimized their loved one is not only a free man but also profiting from his crime, and violating the "Son of Sam" law, Francis himself had no comment on the matter. Perez wants everyone to know that there are no hard feelings on his end. Perez is quoted as saying, “He was the victim. I was the perpetrator. There’s no vendetta. The book is not about exacting revenge.” Yet, it has brought up fresh searches for the blackmail video and creating a sense of sympathy for Francis again.
However before Francis is painted as a victim again, one has to wonder why the mob was after him in the first place and be reminded that Francis was convicted of similar crimes himself. In 2008, he pled no contest to charges of child pornography and prostitution. This was after two women came forward and revealed that he filmed them when they were underage. He also lives in Mexico with his wife and twins because he is wanted by the IRS on tax evasion laws.
In fiction, there is usually a good guy and a bad guy. Even if the hero is flawed, there is something very rootable about him. In the case of Joe Francis, there is very little rooting value and yet he survived an atrocious crime by a man who is now profiting from it. Who do you root for when everyone is a villain?