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Racy "Girls Gone Wild" video company files for bankruptcy

"Girls Gone Wild" founder Joe Francis arrives at the 2012 MTV Movie Awards in Los Angeles in this file photo taken June 3, 2012. REUTERS/Dan
"Girls Gone Wild" founder Joe Francis arrives at the 2012 MTV Movie Awards in Los Angeles in this file photo taken June 3, 2012. REUTERS/Dan

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The company behind the "Girls Gone Wild" video series featuring scantily clad young women drinking, dancing and stripping, has filed for bankruptcy protection citing $16 million in debts, according to court papers obtained on Thursday.

Privately owned GGW Brands filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in U.S. federal court in Los Angeles on Wednesday.

The Los Angeles company said in a statement that it was seeking reorganization and that the filing would not affect any of domestic or international operations of "Girls Gone Wild."

The company, which has sold millions of the racy videos and DVDs since 1997, listed a $10.3 million debt owed to Wynn Resorts casino owner Steve Wynn as its biggest debt.

"Girls Gone Wild" creator Joe Francis was last year ordered to pay Wynn $40 million in damages for defamation and emotional distress. A Los Angeles jury found that Francis had falsely claimed that Wynn threatened his life over a gambling debt.

Another creditor listed in the bankruptcy papers was a woman who won a $5 million lawsuit against "Girls Gone Wild" after someone exposed her breasts in a bar without her consent for one of company's films.

GGW Brands said it has assets of less than $50,000, according to the court papers.

"The company Girls Gone Wild remains strong as a company and strong financially. The only reason Girls Gone Wild has elected to file for this reorganization is to restructure its frivolous and burdensome legal affairs," GGW Brands said in a statement on Thursday.

(Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

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