One day after Joe Francis declared that the jury that convicted him for assault was "mentally f---ing retarded" and "should all be lined up and shot," the Girls Gone Wild founder had something else to add: just kidding!
On Thursday, Francis issued a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, apologizing for his "appalling" comments. "I deeply regret the remarks attributed to me in the interview with the Hollywood Reporter," Francis said. "They were hurtful and do not reflect my true feelings. While I disagree with the jury's verdict as I am completely innocent of the charges and intend to appeal, I was afforded a fair trial, and if I lose at the appellate level, I will reluctantly but fully accept the jury's verdict."
On May 6, Francis was found guilty of three counts of false imprisonment, one count of assault and one count of dissuading a witness from reporting, stemming from a 2011 incident in which three women claimed Francis refused to let them leave his Hollywood mansion. One woman accused Francis of grabbing her by the throat and hair and slamming her head into his tile floor multiple times.
The day after his conviction, Francis participated in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter from his home, in which he admitted he was drunk. "I want that jury to know that each and every one of you are mentally f---ing retarded and you should be euthanized because, as Darwin said, you have naturally selected yourself," Francis shouted to the camera. "And if that jury wants to convict me because I didn't show up, which is the only reason why they did, then, you know, they should all be lined up and shot!"
After a video of the interview was posted online, one of the jurors reached out to Gawker and said that Francis' behavior only "reaffirms the decision" the jury came to. The juror explained that Francis' celebrity status and reputation did not influence their decision to convict, but that it was mostly based on the "emotional testimonies" of the three women. "The 911 calls from that night, the several of them, would be harrowing for a lot of people to hear — not necessarily the jurors or people in the courtroom, but people in general. Those were very emotionally charged calls that were not coming from a place of, "I'm just trying to get one over on a celebrity so I can file a civil suit," the juror said.
Nevertheless, Francis continues to maintain his innocence. "I am not, nor have I ever been a violent person," Francis said in the statement. "My comments are appalling, but anyone who has ever been wrongfully convicted of a crime that they did NOT commit would be as frustrated as I am. I want to apologize to all the jurors, the court, the City Attorney and my attorneys for my comments that were manipulated by the media, and please know I am truly ashamed of my conduct. I am truly, truly sorry. I hope everyone will understand I was not being serious and that I fully and deeply apologize for my remarks."
Francis is due back in court on July 9 for sentencing. He faces up to five years in prison.