March 04, 2002
Wild Lawsuit Girls

Ever see those ads on TV for the Girls Gone Wild videotapes? You know, the ones of coeds on Spring Break and at Mardi Gras flashing their boobs? Well, a girl who was seen in an ad for a similar tape made by another company that ran on E! has won a judgment against the makers of the video.

SAN MARCOS -- Southwest Texas State University student Amber Kulhanek went to spring break in 2000 on South Padre Island for her 21st birthday and ended up taking off her shirt at a wet T-shirt contest in Mexico.

A few months later Kulhanek saw herself in national ads for a "Wild Party Girls" video on the E! cable network, a red strip proclaiming "Too hot for TV" stamped across her naked breasts. Kulhanek, now a senior, said she was mortified when friends and relatives saw the ad and strangers began asking her to take her top off.

Claiming she had been targeted by the video's makers, who she said plied her with alcohol at a Matamoros bar, Kulhanek sued E! and the Florida-based Arco Media Group Inc. for invasion of privacy and emotional distress.

On Wednesday morning, Kulhanek won what her lawyer says is the first judgment of its kind against the video makers and earned a $5 million default judgment in the 22nd District Court. Lawyers for Arco Media never officially responded to the lawsuit and could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Reading the rest of the story, I have to wonder if she would have won if the video makers had bothered to answer the suit. For example:

[Kulhanek's lawyer David] Sergi said Kulhanek was put in a barbershop type chair where liquor was poured down her throat.

"Before she knew it, she was dead drunk," he said. "The people from Arco were egging her on to enter the wet T-shirt contest. The next thing she knew she was in front of a bunch of people with her shirt off."

Okay, so you're saying she was forced into this chair without having any idea what was about to happen, then liquor was poured into her mouth which she was forced to swallow, and then after that she was persuaded to enter a wet-T-shirt contest during which she removed her shirt? At no point was she ever able to say "Hey, you know, I really don't want to do this, so please don't make me drink all that booze"?

I'll stipulate that the business of videotaping drunk coeds who flash their boobs is sleazy. I'll concede that people do stupid things while drunk which they later regret - Lord knows I did while in college. I'm certainly thankful that none of them were caught on videotape and put up for sale. The thing is, though, no one ever forced me to get drunk. That was my choice. The dumb things that followed were therefore my responsibility.

It's possible that Amber Kulhanek was coerced, and if so then the judgment is legitimate. Given that the Arco Media forfeited the issue, we'll never get to hear their cross-examination of Ms. Kulhanek, so we're left with only her version of what happened. Perhaps Arco Media will appeal, assuming you can appeal a default judgment. And given how much they were willing to spend on their legal defense, I wouldn't budget for that money just yet, Amber.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on March 04, 2002 to Legal matters

I have known Amber since we were kids. The most ridiculous thing is that she was a topless dancer while in college... So she was accepting money to show her jugs, but when they showed her jugs without any money, she got pissy. That is so damn stupid... So she had no problem doing it at work?? Some people...I swear!

Posted by: Someone on June 10, 2003 1:31 PM

She'll never see a dime of it. Arco never responded to the lawsuit, and thus a default award judgement was entered by the judge. Arco will never pay, because they can just disband the comapny as a legal entity, leaving the people involved free to re-form as another company altogether, continue doing what they do, and leave this silly bitch penniless. I hope she goes broke pursuing this lawsuit.

Posted by: Reid on July 20, 2003 3:40 PM