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Posted: 11/9/2005 3:18:54 PM EDT
www.radaronline.com/magazine/features/2005/11/the-hustler-the-heiress-and-the-softporn-king.php#fark


How a smooth-talking, social-climbing con man with a penchant for home movies and blackmail turned the tables on Hollywood’s T&A titan.

by Mark Ebner

The videotape on the screen in front of me is stark, grainy. The color is garish, almost fluorescent, possibly from too many generations of loosely authorized copying. A shirtless male figure lies face down on a mattress, his head resting on a pillow. His eyes flutter at half-mast. His mouth is puddled in a stuporous grin, and he looks very, very high. The camera pans to reveal his pants dragged down around his knees and a pink vibrator resting on the crest of his buttocks, lazily gyrating with an irritating whine. The mood is hardly erotic. The man on the screen looks like a hostage in one of those videos streaming out of war-ravaged Iraq: disheveled, sleep-deprived, disoriented, and, just maybe, fearing something on the order of an on-camera beheading. “My name is Joe Francis,” he says repeatedly in a damaged monotone, slurring his words in a continuous stream. “I’m from Boys Gone Wild, and I like it up the ass.”

The copy of this tape currently in the possession of the LAPD is the unlikely centerpiece of a trial that is set to begin next year — one that pits Francis, the 32-year-old multi-millionaire kingpin of the Girls Gone Wild video empire, against a small-time hustler who allegedly video-taped Francis in humiliating positions while holding him at gunpoint and later tried to blackmail his victim by threatening to release the tape. While the case has received scant attention, that is certain to change when the identity of the victim becomes more widely known. Francis, after all, has built a business worth an estimated $100 million out of selling tapes of rowdy, unclothed, and often barely legal young women engaging in “Raw! Real! Uncut!” softcore action in college and spring break towns across America.

The irony is self-evident. But exactly how Francis came to confess on-camera to sexual proclivities so heretical to his show-us-your-tits philosophy is a circuitous tale involving a world of hustlers, heiresses, boxers, Russian bail bondsmen, and blind pop stars. It’s also a story that’s more than a little evocative of the John Guare play Six Degrees of Separation and its subsequent film version, which turned Will Smith into a serious actor and Kevin Bacon into a parlor game. In Six Degrees a silver-tongued con man from the inner city talks his way into a cloistered society, exploits its deference to race, and feasts on its banquet of privilege and sex, until ultimately someone gets hurt. And in this version that person turned out to be Joe Francis.

Like his movie counterpart, Darnell Riley, the person at the center of this sordid story, is an exotically handsome young black man with a murky past, which in his case includes two murders he committed as a juvenile. Until he was arrested last April, Riley, if he was known at all, was probably familiar only to close -readers of Paris Hilton’s purloined speed-dial list, on which his name appeared between Nicole Richie’s and Andy Roddick’s. How the 28-year-old hustler hooked up with such New Hollywood luminaries as Hilton and Francis, and the real nature of his dealings with them, varies depending on whom you ask. “Darnell was fascinated by glamour and all the Hollywood bullshit,” says his friend Alex Vaysfeld. “He thought he’d make it somehow, but he was criminally minded.”

Vaysfeld is a Russian immigrant and onetime boxer who enjoyed a brief career as a 147-pound welterweight before starting Union Bail Bonds, a Los Angeles–based national business. He is a fixture at Holly-wood Boxing, a popular gym at La Brea and Hawthorn. And it was there, a couple of years ago, that he met Riley, who used to hang around the gym, sparring with the pros in the hopes of trading body shots with some of the celebrity clientele, which includes Mickey Rourke, Denzel Washington, and the Wayans brothers.

If he were larger Darnell Riley might look more menacing. As it is, he’s a pretty boy with pretty eyes, although there’s something in them that would make you think twice before crossing him. Despite his slight build — five-foot-seven and maybe 140 pounds — Riley had something Vaysfeld recognized in himself, something the fight world calls heart. “Don’t let Darnell’s looks and stature fool you,” Vaysfeld says. “He’d do collections work for powerful people who didn’t want to get their hands dirty. He referred clients to me. He was a hustler, but he was faithful.”

Riley grew up in Sacramento, moving to Los Angeles with his family when he was 13. He briefly attended high school in Inglewood, but at 15 he was incarcerated for the double homicide, the details of which are sealed by court order. At 24, after doing his time, Riley worked some menial jobs, including stints in a bank and at LAX. Then, apparently filled with a burning ambition to join the privileged class, he made the move to Hollywood. As taken as he was with the new friends he made, however, he was not above viewing them in predatory terms. For example, he is currently negotiating a settlement with Stevie Wonder, on whose property Riley allegedly tripped and fell sometime around Easter of this year.

Even so, Riley made a generally good impression. Some people who met him honestly believed that he was, in the words of one, “a successful young businessman.” Riley epitomized a certain kind of Holly-wood wannabe. A sociable type, he traded on his good looks, innate charms, and sexual prowess to infiltrate the fringes of the city’s party scene. He went to the right events, hung out in the right joints, and rubbed elbows with the right people. “Darnell claims he was banging Nicole Richie before all this went down,” says Vaysfeld, bluntly. Richie, reached at the Video Music Awards in Miami, denies knowing Riley, let alone having a relationship with him. “I have never met that person in my life,” she insists. “I know he said that crap before, and he needs to stop lying.”

Francis — whose only public comment on the case so far has been “I can confirm I was robbed at gunpoint” — also denies knowing Darnell Riley or ever having knowingly laid eyes on him before the night in question. But according to Riley’s attorney, Ronald Richards, Riley attended a Hallo-ween party at Francis’s home last year, and the two were seen together in public on more than one occasion, suggesting that they were not merely casual social acquaintances. The tape, according to Richards, was made with Francis’s consent, something that Fran-cis’s spokesperson, Bill Horn, emphatically denies: “The tape is of Joe being held at gunpoint. It is not sexual in nature. Joe doesn’t really associate with people of that nature.”

At the very least, according to one source close to the case, Francis and Riley may have had an acquaintance in common: lingerie model Erin Naas, who appeared in the September 2004 Playboy and whom Francis was dating last fall. (Asked if Riley knew Naas, Richards initially said, “Yes,” before retreating to, “At the very least he knows of her.”)
Link Posted: 11/9/2005 3:20:52 PM EDT
[#1]
Allah Akbar!
Link Posted: 11/9/2005 3:21:37 PM EDT
[#2]
Link Posted: 11/9/2005 3:22:27 PM EDT
[#3]
damn i thought you said he was butt raped.
Link Posted: 11/9/2005 3:23:12 PM EDT
[#4]
Karma's a bitch.
Link Posted: 11/9/2005 3:23:31 PM EDT
[#5]
NOT ADD FRIENDLY
Link Posted: 11/9/2005 3:26:40 PM EDT
[#6]
My friend and I jokingly came up with a similar idea for rap artists that we hate (Nelly, Ja Rule, etc), called Rapper Rape. The difference is, we would never actually think of acting on it. And no we wouldn't be the ones doing the act, and we're certainly not gay!
Link Posted: 11/9/2005 3:38:18 PM EDT
[#7]


Link Posted: 11/9/2005 4:31:04 PM EDT
[#8]
Link Posted: 11/9/2005 4:39:24 PM EDT
[#9]
There is an 'Owned' pic that I want NO part of seeing.
Link Posted: 11/9/2005 4:49:49 PM EDT
[#10]

Quoted:
Karma's a bitch.



YUP!
Link Posted: 11/9/2005 4:50:13 PM EDT
[#11]
Forgive me for asking a stupid question, but I'm a tad confused here.

...However, is this for real? The guy behind those "Girls Gone Wild" videos had various objects up his ass on tape?

Link Posted: 11/9/2005 4:51:10 PM EDT
[#12]
tag
Link Posted: 11/9/2005 4:53:28 PM EDT
[#13]
I thought he was still in prison for video taping so many naked under aged girls?
Link Posted: 11/9/2005 4:55:22 PM EDT
[#14]
That's Funny!
Link Posted: 11/9/2005 5:00:10 PM EDT
[#15]
Link Posted: 11/9/2005 5:03:05 PM EDT
[#16]
ouch
Link Posted: 11/9/2005 5:03:17 PM EDT
[#17]
GOOD
Link Posted: 11/9/2005 5:24:24 PM EDT
[#18]
I had always imagined he'd meet his end at the hands of a couple of fifty-something year-old men whose daughters had been featured in his films, with the results memorialized on a 45-minute DVD that included every last bit of a Craftsman 93-Piece Mechanic's tool set and a belt sander. I guess this'll have to do.
Link Posted: 11/9/2005 5:26:50 PM EDT
[#19]
So, life aint all fun bags and honey holes after all. Bwah haa haa!
Link Posted: 11/9/2005 5:27:20 PM EDT
[#20]
ooooops
Link Posted: 11/9/2005 5:50:33 PM EDT
[#21]
BWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!
Link Posted: 11/9/2005 5:53:48 PM EDT
[#22]

Quoted:
I had always imagined he'd meet his end at the hands of a couple of fifty-something year-old men whose daughters had been featured in his films, with the results memorialized on a 45-minute DVD that included every last bit of a Craftsman 93-Piece Mechanic's tool set and a belt sander. I guess this'll have to do.



It could still happen.  This could just be a warm-up.  
Link Posted: 11/9/2005 6:03:24 PM EDT
[#23]
While I've seen one of his videos, I'm not too familiar with the aspects of his operations.
Does he actually do something wrong?

I don't consider asking adult women to show their tits wrong and I'm unaware that he has ever forced underage girls to show their tits.  I think it's been established that they had to sign releases, which state that they are over 18.

Fill me in.
Is this just playa hatin' or did this guy really do something wrong?
Link Posted: 11/9/2005 6:14:40 PM EDT
[#24]

Quoted:
While I've seen one of his videos, I'm not too familiar with the aspects of his operations.
Does he actually do something wrong?

I don't consider asking adult women to show their tits wrong and I'm unaware that he has ever forced underage girls to show their tits.  I think it's been established that they had to sign releases, which state that they are over 18.

Fill me in.
Is this just playa hatin' or did this guy really do something wrong?



Mostly playa hatin'.  The guy's a scumbag, but if half the guys that bitch about him could get away with doing what he's doing they'd come right the fuck back here and brag about it in GD.
Link Posted: 11/9/2005 6:27:25 PM EDT
[#25]
How does the saying go?  "Turnabout's fair play", along with "Paybacks a #@$%", and just a plain old "Sucks to be you".
Link Posted: 11/9/2005 6:33:21 PM EDT
[#26]
How weird is that. 5 minutes ago I had some telemarketer that claimed to be from Girls Gone Wild trying to phish for a credit card number.
Link Posted: 11/9/2005 6:49:42 PM EDT
[#27]
I guess that ol'boy should count his lucky stars.....he could'a ended up like that drooling, impotent, paralyzed "Rascal" pilot named Larry Flynt.
Link Posted: 11/9/2005 6:57:26 PM EDT
[#28]

Quoted:
While I've seen one of his videos, I'm not too familiar with the aspects of his operations.
Does he actually do something wrong?

I don't consider asking adult women to show their tits wrong and I'm unaware that he has ever forced underage girls to show their tits.  I think it's been established that they had to sign releases, which state that they are over 18.

Fill me in.
Is this just playa hatin' or did this guy really do something wrong?



No playa hatin' here.  Several counties here in FLA have him on tape hookin up with underaged girls that didn't sign waivers.  He knew he was banging/filming underaged women.  His high-priced lawyers insulated him.  But as was pointed out above....Karma's a bitch.
Link Posted: 11/9/2005 6:59:43 PM EDT
[#29]

Quoted:
sounds like one of them wild girls daddy's finally caught up with him.



My thoughts exactly....
Link Posted: 11/9/2005 7:06:30 PM EDT
[#30]
Tagganzie.

TC
Link Posted: 11/10/2005 9:16:48 AM EDT
[#31]

Quoted: I had always imagined he'd meet his end at the hands of a couple of fifty-something year-old men whose daughters had been featured in his films, with the results memorialized on a 45-minute DVD that included every last bit of a Craftsman 93-Piece Mechanic's tool set and a belt sander. I guess this'll have to do.
I figure the devil wanted a down payment from Joe Francis. The ballon payment will be collected later.
Link Posted: 11/10/2005 10:37:46 AM EDT
[#32]
So you guys are happy about this?  What the fuck is wrong with you?  This guy did us a great service, haven't you ever seen any of the Girls gone wild stuff?  

The fact is noone made those girls do anything they didn't want to do or wouldn't have done even if the camera was there.  

I sell beer at all the Ohio State home games and girls show me their tits etc. all the time for free beer and stuff  are you saying I should be buttraped at gun point?  

Link Posted: 11/10/2005 10:49:22 AM EDT
[#33]

Quoted:
While I've seen one of his videos, I'm not too familiar with the aspects of his operations.
Does he actually do something wrong?



He's been busted for drugs and for possessing videos of underage girls doing the stuff 18+ girls do on his products for sale.  He gets these chicks drunk and high, films them and sells the tapes to dipshits.  What's to like about this character?
Link Posted: 11/10/2005 10:55:37 AM EDT
[#34]

Quoted:
There is an 'Owned' pic that I want NO part of seeing.



Hmmm....how bout this one?


Link Posted: 11/10/2005 10:58:50 AM EDT
[#35]

Quoted:
I sell beer at all the Ohio State home games and girls show me their tits etc. all the time for free beer and stuff  are you saying I should be buttraped at gun point?  



YES.. If you into that kind of thing..
Link Posted: 11/10/2005 10:59:51 AM EDT
[#36]

Quoted:
sounds like one of them wild girls daddy's finally caught up with him.



That was my first thought, also.  
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