release of “Bum Fights” in 2001 has led to a proliferation of bum videos.
Six different videos have been produced in the past five years: “Bum Fights,”
“Bum Fights 2,” “Bum Hunts,” “Bum Show.com,” “Bag Lady Beatings,” and
“Bum Fights III.” In these
videos, homeless people are coerced to perform degrading and dangerous
stunts for money, alcohol, or food.
The video producers also use parodies of famous TV shows to demoralize
Walton, a professor of ethics and policy studies at the University of
Nevada, Las Vegas, said, “even if the homeless aren’t forced to perform,
it’s inaccurate to describe people without adequate shelter, food or clothing
as having choices.”
videos such as these solely add to the trends of violence and mistreatment
of people who suffer from homelessness. According to the May 13, 2004
issue of the Las Vegas Sun, Jeanne Corcoran, production manager for the
Nevada Film Office, called the producers of these videos “cockroaches
(who) only come out at night. None
of us in the government sanction or support this type of exploitation.”
Sgt. Eric Fricker, Las Vegas supervisor of two Metro Police officers who
work with homeless people, said he was trying to “educate the homeless
and talking to advocates in order to stop future filmmakers.”
first video released in 2001, “Bum Fights,” was banned in several other
countries. It has been condemned
on the floor of the United States House of Representatives. The filmmakers of the video, Ty Beeson and Ray Laticia, initially faced seven felony and four
misdemeanor charges for the production of the video. The final court verdict required them to serve sentences of
250 hours of community service and three years probation. Yet “Bum Fights 2” was still released
last year’s report, “Bum Fights III” has been released.
Fights III: The Felony Footage
release of Bum Fights III: The Felony Footage is the third installment
of the Bum Fights DVD series and its release in 2004 portrays the most
degrading, sickening, and offensive material to date about the country’s
homeless. Homeless men, women, and children are
coerced into performing dangerous stunts for money and drugs, reinforcing
negative stereotypes about homeless people and homelessness. The footage portrays homeless people as
drug addicts, alcoholics, bums, and worst of all worthless. The filmmakers
continually mock and demoralize homeless people by filming some of the
A homeless man named “Bling Bling” smokes crack in various crowded settings
such as a casino and a public river.
“Bling Bling,” is later “rehabbed” by being chained to a light post, taunted,
tortured, and teased with money and crack just out of his reach. As he
goes through withdrawals from his drug addiction, the filmmakers inch
a plate of goods closer and closer to him. “Bling Bling” is finally rewarded with
drugs when he bungee jumps off a tower into a swimming pool.
A homeless man (Donnie) gets spanked on his birthday by a prostitute and
another homeless man named Rufus. These two individuals repeatedly and
severely spank this homeless man with sex whips in the buttocks, genital
region, and across the forehead.
Throughout this process he is gagged and in pain.
A homeless man runs in a marathon pushing his shopping cart while being
antagonized and asking for donations from the crowd.
Several individuals continuously attack a homeless man in the face. The
victim is screaming in pain.
Many homeless individuals are seen in the video doing illegal substances
on the sidewalk or in public bathrooms.
Numerous fights caught on amateur film are shown throughout the movie.
Many of these fights are the brutal beatings of a single individual by
two or more people.
Many homeless individuals are shown vandalizing properties such as kicking
garbage cans and defecating publicly.
A homeless man jumps off the roof of a house onto a piece of wood.
Rufus uses profanity against Bruce Helgland, the district attorney of
San Diego, who is trying to shut down Bum Fights.
Rufus is later shown getting a Mohawk haircut with hair dye.
He shaves his eyebrow and reveals a painful tattoo written on his
stomach that reads “Bum Life.”
A homeless man runs into a big piece of glass and is later shown bleeding.
A homeless man punches another man in the face and repeatedly kicks him
even when he is down.
A trap was set to lure homeless men by putting a $20 bill on top of a
slippery painted pole. Homeless men step on each other’s heads and backs
trying to climb up the pole to retrieve the money.
Homeless men and women are pretending to have sex on the sidewalk in a
scene the filmmakers dub “Bum Luving.”
A homeless woman is being interviewed but is quickly called a “shitty
interview” because she expresses her appreciation for homeless people.
Several individuals beat a single homeless person and the victim pleas
for the attackers to stop.
Stop Selling Hate
more disconcerting are major corporate retailers who have found it acceptable
to sell these videos and DVDs in their stores and on the internet that
show homeless people participating in the acts of self mutilations, drinking
urine or Windex for money or alcohol, and fighting. For a current list
of these vendors and/or online stores selling these videos, please visit
NCH’s website at www.nationalhomeless.org.
a few corporations (Amazon.com, Borders, Ebay, and Best Buy) have stopped
selling the disturbing videos as per NCH’s request. These are retailers
that depend on their public image, yet find it acceptable to traffic violent
and dehumanizing films and videos.
They are taking advantage of a vulnerable, minority population
to make a profit. The first
video, “Bum Fights,” grossed over six million dollars in one month, and
those recently produced continue to bring in profit at the “expense of
the homeless people who are exploited and aren’t paid one cent,” said
Michael Stoops, acting executive director for the National Coalition for
the Homeless. Years ago, these films were relegated to the adult video
world, less reputable stores, or some dark corner of the internet –
not the brightly-lit shelves of retail stores.
considers the sale of these films as approval of this illegal behavior,
and possibly encouraging the further development of these exploitative
films. It perpetuates the rise of hate speech
and hate crimes/violence directed against homeless people in the United
States. NCH will continue
to monitor these videos.
you discover the distribution of such items in your community, take personal
action by contacting your
local retailer. Demand the
That they immediately stop selling these videotapes or DVDs and destroy the
That they turn over the profits from the
sale of these violent videotapes to an agency of their choosing that serves
also send a copy of your letter, email or fax to:
Coalition for the Homeless
Phone: (202) 462-4822 ext 19
Fax: (202) 462-4823