The plaintiffs say they were “tricked” into having sex on camera by confusing contracts and coercive producers.
A San Diego judge has tentatively awarded $13 million to nearly two dozen young women who claim to have been tricked into shooting adult films for GirlsDoPorn.
According to New York Times, the 90-day civil trial was noteworthy for exposing the bait-and-switch-type tactics used by GirlsDoPorn producers. Using incentives, false promises and confusing contracts, pornographers allegedly coerced college-aged women into performing sex acts on camera.
Presiding Superior Court Judge Kevin A. Enright ordered GirlsDoPorn and its operators to remove the affected women’s images and videos from websites they own or influence. Enright also instructed that they take measures to restrict GirlsDoPorn content on other websites, too.
It’s worth noting, however, that Enright’s decision isn’t quite final—he’s given both parties a 15-day window to object to his decision. If 15 days pass without challenge, the decision will be finalized.
Edward Chapin, an attorney who represented 22 of the plaintiffs, said the ruling is an important victory for his clients. Chapin emphasizes that many of the women featured on GirlsDoPorn didn’t know what they were getting into and certainly didn’t expect their sex videos to be available for public perusal.
“Defendants rush and pressure the women to sign [contracts] quickly without reading them and engage in other deceptive, coerceive and threatening behavior to secure their signatures,” Enright noted in court.
In many cases, GirlsDoPorn producers purportedly flew young women to San Diego on the promise of modeling or acting contracts, telling them they were expected to perform in adult films only after they arrived. In other instances, models were explicitly told they were being hired for pornographic shoots but stipulated that the videos were intended for private buyers overseas.
“They were happy with the outcome because it shows they were believed, that their story was believed,” Chapin told The New York Times. “They had been shamed. These guys attacked them, harassed them and intimidated them so it was challenging to get them to testify. So it’s a vindication for them.”
Despite Chapin and his clients’ relief, it’s likely the defendants—including Michael J. Pratt, GirlsDoPorn’s executive producer; Andre Garcia, an adult actor; and videographer Matthew Wolfe—will lodge an objection.
The Times notes that all three defendants are also facing criminal charges, which range from sex trafficking to fraud and coercion.
Attorneys Daniel Kaplan and Aaron Sadock, working on behalf of the three defendants, stressed that Enright’s ruling doesn’t prove their clients’ guilt.
“The tentative ruling does not affect the criminal case,” Kaplan and Sadock said in a joint statement. The government’s burden of proof in the criminal case is ‘beyond a reasonable doubt,’ which is [a] much higher standard than in this civil lawsuit where the burden of proof is mere preponderance of evidence.”