Girls Gone Wild tour skips Kingston

When the Girls Gone Wild tour bus rolled across country last month, it didn’t end up stopping in Kingston.
When the Girls Gone Wild tour bus rolled across country last month, it didn’t end up stopping in Kingston.
Credit: 
Photo courtesy of Mantra Films, Inc.

A campus and community bracing for an X-rated film company’s visit to Kingston can put its mind at ease.

Mantra Films Inc., the producers of Girls Gone Wild, completed a Canadian tour this month without making an anticipated stop in the city.

“We’re pretty much at the end of the tour and there won’t be any additional dates now,” said Mantra spokesperson Bill Horn. “We got enough footage, we were on the road for quite a while—probably over a month—and we’ve got a bunch of tours in the U.S. so we’re probably going to concentrate on those.

“Sorry.”

Momentum was growing steadily for a local letter-writing campaign spearheaded by Sexual Assault Centre Kingston (SACK) aiming to prevent the California-based company from making a stop here.

Last month, both the Kingston Whig-Standard and CTV reported that Mantra hoped to include Kingston in their tour, although the company had not confirmed any dates.

The University and the AMS responded last week to a potential visit by developing a plan to dissuade the company from rolling into town.

“With respect to Girls Gone Wild, we understand they use some predatory practices to engage young women and we would be absolutely opposed to that,” said Janice Deakin, acting dean of student affairs.

Mantra kicked off their Canadian tour Aug. 10 in Ottawa to promote the release of their direct-to-market video Girls Gone Wild Canada. Horn said the purpose of the tour was also to shoot footage for an upcoming DVD, although he was uncertain whether it would specifically be used in a sequel film.

The Girls Gone Wild film series is known for depicting female college students drinking heavily, baring their breasts and making out.

“[We] go to a specific venue, we go in and just capture the party atmosphere,” Horn explained. “Normally these are venues that have Girls Gone Wild-style party nights, so we just go and capture that.

“If anyone says ‘I want to go wild for your cameras,’ we’ll bring them on the tour bus.”

Participants get a hat or t-shirt in return, he said.

Caitlin Coull, a public education co-ordinator for SACK, said she was ecstatic to learn the tour was over.

“That’s absolutely wonderful,” she said. “I think that it’s a victory for Kingston but at the same time it’s important to remember that it’s not changing anything they’re doing, it’s not changing their practices.”

Horn said the closest Mantra came to the city was a stop in Cobourg, west of Kingston, on Aug. 12. He was unaware of opposition mounting in Kingston.

“We [have] come across that occasionally,” he said, referring to a drive by Dalhousie University in Halifax to block the group from visiting their city in late August. “That never stops us.”

It was the efforts of Dalhousie that prompted SACK to begin their campaign, Coull said.

“Although they have said they are not recruiting Queen’s students specifically, the whole thing [refers to] ‘college’ Girls Gone Wild,” Coull said. “It doesn’t take a genius to figure out who is being targeted.”

Coull said she was especially concerned for first-year students.

“They may not have experience defining their own boundaries, their own limitations with alcohol ... so it’s probably quite easy to con young women into doing this,” she said.

Horn said girls who appear on film always sign a consent form and show identification for legal purposes once their film shoot is over.

“Everything is done on-camera right after,” he said.

Coull said she believes the practices of Mantra are akin to sexual assault.

“I think asking young women to sign a consent form while intoxicated renders it void,” she said, explaining that according to Canadian law, individuals cannot legally consent to sexual activity under intoxication.

Deakin said prior to learning Mantra had cancelled the stop, the administration and AMS planned to enlist cooperation and assistance from local bar owners to deter the company.

“In discussions with Principal [Karen] Hitchcock, we were looking at ways to ... do everything in our power to not have a group like this come to Kingston,” she said.

AMS Social Issues Commissioner Jennifer Holub said she is relieved to hear Mantra’s decision.

“Bottom line, we’re very happy—but I’m not impressed that [Mantra] didn’t take to heart our concerns,” Holub said. “But rest assured, this has been a learning experience for us.

“The AMS has learned that this is a real threat to our campus and we will definitely be prepared [in the future] for this kind of a threat.”

When commenting, be considerate and respectful of writers and fellow commenters. Try to stay on topic. Spam and comments that are hateful or discriminatory will be deleted. Our full commenting policy can be read here.