"Girls Gone Wild" founder Joe Francis demanded an apology from Sen. Mark Pryor (D., Ark.) in an interview with the Washington Free Beacon Thursday.
California businessman Chad Brownstein apologized to Pryor Thursday for auctioning off an internship in the senator’s office—supposedly without the senator’s permission. According to the Washington Post:
In the letter his publicist shared with us, venture capitalist Chad Brownstein explained to Pryor that he and other members of Wilshire Boulevard Temple were asked to "identify an internship" that could be offered in an online auction benefitting its school. Brownstein said he suggested "an unpaid month-long summer internship for a high school student" with Pryor — to whom Brownstein contributed $2,000 for his first Senate race in 2002.
Brownstein said he "didn’t realize the item would be posted before I had a chance to check with your office."
Francis, the "Girls Gone Wild" founder who announced that he would give the Senate internship to the winner of a "Hottest Girl in America" contest, purchased Brownstein’s auction item.
When the internship was reported Wednesday, Pryor denounced the news as a "hoax."
"I bought this thing at a charity auction," Francis said. "I wanted to send a girl to Washington, D.C. It was going to be like Elle Woods in Legally Blonde 2. She was going to trade a bikini for a business suit. I was doing a good thing, and this got completely out of control.
"Sen. Pryor owes me an apology," Francis said. "He said I was the one who perpetrated a ‘hoax’? He’s saying that I should be investigated by the FBI? I just bought this."
Francis maintains that his contest was not a publicity stunt.
"This was not a publicity stunt. That’s not what we’re about here," Francis said from Los Angeles. "I wanted to do a positive thing for a young woman’s life."
Francis said he has not been enjoying the recent publicity.
"Anytime you have your name and ‘FBI’ in the same headline, you’re not going to have a good day," Francis said.
Francis said he has not been contacted by Pryor’s office since the controversy began. "Not directly, no."
But Francis said he is glad that Brownstein cleared up the matter with his letter.
"I feel like I’ve been vindicated," Francis said. "I’ve been in the right in all of this."
Francis says he plans to continue with his "Search for the Hottest Girl in America," a reality series that airs a new installment on HDNet Thursday night.