Girls Do Porn posted this video editing photo on Twitter in 2014
  • Girls Do Porn posted this video editing photo on Twitter in 2014
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The Hard Rock Hotel in San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter wants to make you feel like a star. Adhered to the wall behind the front desk is a colorful photo looking out at a raucous crowd from the stage at a rock concert.

See just how young 18 is.

See just how young 18 is.

A few blocks north up Fifth Avenue, guests at the boutique four-star hotel Kimpton Hotel Palomar San Diego are immersed in “SoCal chic” design, popjazz playing on the hotel’s sound system and a tattooed bartender slinging pricey cocktails at the poolside bar on the roof.

Fourteen women, ranging in age from 18 through 22, including one still in high school, may have felt like stars when they walked into these downtown San Diego hotels. But a few hours later they left feeling degraded, abused, underpaid, and humiliated. That’s what four of them allege in a lawsuit they filed in June 2016 against Matthew Wolfe, Michael Pratt, Andre Garcia, and their popular amateur website, girlsdoporn.com. Six months later, ten other women joined the lawsuit.

Andre Garcia’s Facebook profile photo

Andre Garcia’s Facebook profile photo

According to the lawsuit, the women each entered into financial agreements with the three men for a few hours of filming them having sex for private collectors in Australia or South America. But they allege that the film sessions devolved into a day of rough sex, mistreatment, and lies. It worsened when guarantees of anonymity were broken and the men posted the videos on their popular amateur pornography website, girlsdoporn.com, as well as on to free conglomerate porn sites as a way to advertise. Making matters worse, the women’s identities and contact information were leaked on the internet for friends and families to see.

Modeling ads on Craigslist

For the 14 women, and hundreds of others that have appeared on girlsdoporn.com since the website launched in 2011, their introduction to the adult film industry began by searching Craigslist for modeling jobs.

During their search they found one from San Diego–based modeling agencies beginemodeling.com, exploretalent.com, and Bubblegum Casting. The ads were posted on Craigslist pages in cities such as Las Vegas, San Diego, Dallas, Alberta, Canada, Los Angeles, as well as in populous counties in North Carolina, Louisiana, Florida, and Tennessee.

But the so-called modeling agencies were fakes. The blank forms embedded on the websites required that only women between the ages of 18 and 22 apply. Applicants were then asked to submit pictures and list their body dimensions and other personal information.

The pitch

Shortly after submitting the online form, the women say, a phone call came from a man with a thick Australian accent identified as Matthew Wolfe.

Wolfe told them that the gig, while technically considered modeling, is really having sex on camera in exchange for a few thousand dollars. Wolfe says their names would be kept confidential. The videos, only in DVD format, are only sold to private buyers and independent video stores in Australia and South America and are not for release on the web or in the US.

To sweeten the deal, Wolfe promises an all-expenses paid trip to San Diego. The videos are shot at upscale hotels along San Diego Bay and throughout San Diego County, at hotels such as the Kimpton Palomar Hotel, the Coronado Island Marriott, the Hard Rock Hotel, the Hilton Bayfront, and the La Valencia Hotel in La Jolla.

According to the lawsuit, Wolfe offers the women anywhere from $2000 to $5000 for a few hours of “work.” If still on the fence, Wolfe provides them a reference; a woman they can speak to who recently shot a video with the men and can attest to their professionalism and that the models’ true identities remain hidden.

When the women agree, Wolfe acts fast to book their travel in order to prevent them from backing out.

The lawsuit addresses what is a growing trend in the adult film industry, which features young women, oftentimes still in their teens, appearing in amateur and “reality” adult films.

The younger the girls are, the better, for Wolfe, Pratt, and Garcia, according to the website’s social media profiles.

“Just finished shooting a girl still in high school…” read a post on the website’s Instagram page in April 2014.

Three months later the men bragged about another woman.

“Shooting a girl who turned 18 ten days…ago. Happy late birthday,” reads the profile followed by a smiley face emoticon.

And... action

Once in San Diego, the young women were brought to their hotel rooms where they are handed contracts to sign. According to the lawsuit, the men rush the women to sign quickly so they can get started filming. In some cases, the lawsuit alleges, they tell them it is only for tax purposes and legalese that the women need not concern themselves with. The contracts say nothing of private buyers.

The filming begins. The women sit on the bed. Wolfe, in Australian accent, interviews them. He tells them to state their age. He asks if they are nervous; if they work or go to school. He asks why they decided to do a porn video. Most of the women respond that they are in need of cash. Some say the money will help pay for college tuition. Wolfe then asks more personal questions: how old they were when they lost their virginity, if they have boyfriends, and whether they told anyone they were going to do a porn film?

It is then that Andre Garcia, the actor enters. Garcia likes it rough. He slaps them. Forces copulation. Filming lasts a number of hours and involves several takes, the women allege. Three of the four women who filed the lawsuit claim that the men ignored them when they expressed discomfort or wanted to stop filming.

Reads the lawsuit, “After the filming begins, and/or when the young women are told what to do, if they refuse or say they are uncomfortable or in pain, the defendants often yell at them saying it is too late to change their minds and they cannot leave the hotel room. Further, the filming often takes much longer than the[y] promised — often the young women are confined in the hotel room and forced to film and have sex for many hours. Even worse, the young women are sometimes forced to have sex when not filming to appease [Garcia].”

One of the 14 members of the lawsuit says pleas to stop filming due to pain or discomfort resulted in mistreatment. “During the [April 9, 2013] shoot Jane Doe No. 4 became scared and in extreme pain, so she asked Garcia and Wolfe to leave,” reads the lawsuit. “They told her she could not leave until they were finished. Garcia and Wolfe then reneged on their promise to pay...the $2,000 and only paid her $400. They also locked [her] out of the hotel room forcing her to find other hotel accommodations alone.”

Rise of amateur porn

In recent years the adult film industry has struggled to catch up to the growing popularity of amateur porn where the stars of the films are college-aged women, not heavily made-up, silicon-enhanced porn stars. The amateur videos have traded in the cheesy subplots, studio sets, and lighting for minimal camera crews, and in the case of girlsdoporn.com, an expensive hotel room.

The trend has resulted in lower budgets for films and high profits for amateur filmmakers.

In girlsdoporn.com’s case, the website requires members sign up and pay a $30-per-month subscription rate.

The profits are growing. The website is currently ranked as the 33,949th most visited website in the United States, and is ranked 65,544 worldwide, according to online metric website Alexa. From November to December 2016, the website had over 1.185 million visitors, 84,035 of which visited the site for the first time.

Also driving traffic is the popularity of large porn video sharing websites such as PornHub, where production companies can post condensed videos for free in hopes of leading to paying subscribers.

Offshore accounts, cartels, arms dealers

There are other incentives for having a smaller crew and decreased budget; the ease and ability to hide profits and money through offshore accounts.

According to girlsdoporn.com, Oh Well Media Limited is listed as its parent corporation. Oh Well Media Limited is headquartered in Port Vila, Vanuatu, a small archipelago located in the South Pacific a thousand miles from the coast of Australia. Over the course of the past several decades, Vanuatu has been become an offshore tax haven for tax evaders, home to thousands of shell companies.

But Oh Well Media Limited is not the only company to have listed girlsdoporn.com as one of its subsidiaries.

In 2011, the website listed GT Group Limited as its parent company and custodian of records. GT Group, also based in Vanuatu, was among the companies outlined in “the Panama papers,” millions of documents leaked online that revealed classified information of financial institutions and offshore accounts.

According to a 2011 article in the Sydney Morning Herald, several companies listed under GT Group’s umbrella were found to have connections to Mexican drug lords, arms-smuggling rings in Iran, lottery scams in the U.S., and Russian tax fraud.

Considered the “biggest money-laundering operation in U.S. history,” the Sydney Morning Herald reported that four shell companies under the GT Group had played a part in funneling a reported $378 billion in drug money for the Sinaloa drug cartel. U.S. drug enforcement officials uncovered the operation after finding large money transfers from a Mexican currency exchange to a Wachovia Bank in Miami.

Around the same time, another shell company under GT Group Limited shuffled billions in a Russian tax scam, the largest that country had ever seen.

Additional companies linked to the GT Group took part in smuggling weapons to Iran as well as lottery scams in the United States.

Oh Well Media Limited did not respond to requests for comment.

To regulate the unregulated

The number of amateur filmmakers who are intent on scouring the internet in hopes of finding young women willing to be filmed having sex has resulted in some calls for raising the age of consent in adult films.

Ronna Gradus and Jill Bauer

Ronna Gradus and Jill Bauer

In Hot Girls Wanted, filmmakers Jill Bauer and Ronna Gradus chronicle several women in Miami who, after finding ads on Craigslist, agree to star in adult films.

Bauer, a former journalist, says the women’s age and socioeconomic status appear to be the main factors driving their decisions.

“Many of these young women are from small towns,” said Bauer in a November 21 phone interview. “Some are just graduating from high school and are not necessarily considering college, whether for a lack of money.... They click on a Craigslist ad and they see potential for quick cash, and also for freedom. Those realities combined with the fact that these women are literally teenagers, raises other concerns — the predatory nature of the amateur films and what, if anything, needs to happen in regards to regulation.

Gradus spoke to several experts who agree that changes may need to happen to prevent young women from being coerced into the adult film industry at too early an age. “The niche of amateur reality porn is growing, and with that there’s been very little done to show the impacts this might have on the girls. In Hot Girls Wanted, the women we talked to knew they would be featured in adult films. They made the decision to enter this world. In that regard it’s slightly different than what the women in the lawsuit in San Diego dealt with. But that said, there’s a common theme in that this amateur reality niche preys upon the 18- to 22-year-olds, regardless of how prepared they think they are.

“On one side there is the fact that these women are 18 and are over the age of consent. People can say, ‘Hey, they are adults and they agreed to it, so why should I feel bad?’ But when you get close to these women you see just how young 18 is. It raises some questions about the age of consent and whether it should be raised, in order to avoid some of the stories you are now hearing with the proliferation of the amateur/reality genre. There were many women we spoke to that admitted that if they were given the same choice two years later, when they were 20 as opposed to 18, they would have done differently. There’s an innocence for a lot of these women, and I feel the agents and the people in the industry know that.”

However, regulating amateur porn can be difficult. Wolfe, Pratt, and Garcia are able to fly under the radar. The City of San Diego only requires permits if the films impact traffic or are shot on public property. According to a city spokesperson, no permits have been issued to girlsdoporn.com or their current parent company Oh Well Media.

Production companies do need approval to film on private property, but it is up to the property owner to enforce. Hotel staff at San Diego’s Hard Rock Hotel did not respond to a request for comment regarding whether they were aware of the filming at that particular hotel. In the case of small-time pornographers, stuffing a video camera, some lights, and a few boom stands into a large suitcase or duffle bag is an easy way around notification.

And while socioeconomics and youth play a factor in the girlsdoporn.com lawsuit, there is the fact that all 14 women did agree to being videotaped having sex with a man they barely knew.

The problem, they say, is they thought the videos would only be sold to a handful of individuals in faraway countries and their identities would not be revealed.

The posting of the videos online and revealing the women’s identities is the crux of their lawsuit. The women say the men never said that would happen. According to California law, a contract is considered fraudulent when misrepresentations were made in order to persuade someone to agree to the contract.

In the lawsuit, the women say that Pratt, Wolfe, and Garcia gave them contracts to sign shortly after arriving at the hotel. Some of the women allege they were under the influence when the contracts were given to them. The men allegedly rushed them to sign.

The identities of hundreds of women who appeared in girlsdoporn.com videos were leaked on the website pornwikileaks.com, a site dedicated to revealing the identities of over 15,000 adult film actors.

Along with posting their names, visitors to the website also leave messages on chat rooms. On one chat room devoted to girlsdoporn.com, users post hateful messages about the women. In one message, a person suggests that Pratt, Wolfe, or Garcia leaked the women’s names.

“[Garcia] promises [the women] that there [sic] friends and family won’t see it and lets them use a fake movie stage name in the video but doesn’t tell them he is going to release there [sic] real names on pornwikileaks.com,” reads a message posted on the website, just above a list of over a hundred names of women who appeared in the adult films.

“He is kind of like that Girls Gone Wild guy Joe Francis but better because this guy then comes to pornwikileaks and leaks all the whore’s [sic] real names and makes them wiki pages here anonymously....”

Leaking women’s identities appears to be a long-running practice for Wolfe, Pratt, and Garcia.

According to a TMZ.com article, the men revealed the identity of a former teen beauty queen who appeared in one of their videos. The men posted her video online and released footage of her stating her real name on camera. A representative for girlsdoporn.com told TMZ that the woman wanted to do additional shoots but the company refused because she was “frigid at best.”

Lights... camera... legal action

Attorneys for the women — who declined to comment for this report — are asking that a judge award each woman $500,000 in damages.

Attorneys for the men say that the women signed the contracts and they are suing because they regret appearing in the films. “There is no merit to the claims in the complaint that actresses were mistreated during filming,” says attorney Daniel Kaplan in a written statement to the Reader.

Kaplan’s colleague, Aaron Sadock, says the “Actresses signed contracts agreeing that the owner of the content has the right to publish the videos worldwide. Each actress read a statement on film showing she understood the contract. We believe the evidence will show that this is a case of remorse on the part of the actresses.”

The lawsuit is now in San Diego Superior Court and will be heard in coming months.

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Comments

dwbat Jan. 4, 2017 @ 2:24 p.m.

Craigslist, Inc. should also be sued for allowing such ads, since they know what's being advertised and turn a blind eye.

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Dorian Hargrove Jan. 5, 2017 @ 3:54 p.m.

From what I understand there are lot of shady, possibly illegal, things one can find scrolling through your local Craigslist page. The thing about these ads/posts is they appear to be from reputable modeling agencies. As is evident, that's not always the case. Thanks, DWBat! -dH

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other Jan. 19, 2017 @ 4:56 p.m.

18 years and up is a adult that can read and sign a contract. 18 year olds can join the military and die serving their country. These girls were too lazy and greedy to work at low paid normal jobs. They didn't file police reports after they had sex for money. Now they want a boatload of cash for their mistake. If youve seen those videos its apparent no one is being taken advantage of or abused.

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RealD March 22, 2017 @ 3:54 p.m.

If they've actually been told that it was for private use and would not be realeased in the US, which is an old tactic used in Eastern Europe for decades, then there's abusement... Should they have read the contract ? Sure. Does it protect the producers ? No.

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