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.
[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."
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