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Homeless Fight Club Miffs Critics


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  • Homeless Fight Club Miffs Critics

    Homeless Fight Club Miffs Critics

    LAS VEGAS -- One bloodied homeless man, his pants sliding off his back end, pummels a foe into the corner of a public toilet. Another rips his front tooth out with pliers. A third shows off the tattoos coating his penis.

    That's entertainment?
    thousands of people who have forked out at least $22 each for a copy of Bumfights: A Cause For Concern, apparently so. The reality flick, a one-hour parade of gratuitous violence and gore depicting the worst imaginable behavior of homeless people in Las Vegas and Southern California, has reportedly sold 250,000 copies since its mid-April debut and turned its 24-year-old producers into sudden millionaires.

    Homeless advocates, pop-culture observers and conservative media groups are all appalled. Howard Stern and Fox News are both fascinated. And the Las Vegas police are actively looking for "victims" of violence depicted in the video who would be willing to file complaints.

    All the while, Internet users, some from as far away as Istanbul and as near as Andrews Air Force Base, are logging onto Bumfights.com to get one of their own -- and picking up a T-shirt or hooded sweatshirt while they're at it. The video is only available online.

    Ray Leticia and Ty Beeson, Las Vegas natives and preschool pals who say they financed the $50,000 film by maxing out their credit cards, hatched the idea in 1999 while witnessing some homeless men fighting in a run-down section of Vegas known as Naked City.

    "We realized that everybody watching was having a pretty good time, so we figured, 'Why not make a whole video of this?'" Leticia recalls. "We were interested in the inherent humor of something that hasn't been touched upon in mainstream entertainment, which is homelessness."

    Their modest aim was to raise $100,000 off Bumfights to fund a legitimate independent film career, but the public's seemingly unquenchable thirst for boundary-busting reality programming has helped them invent a franchise instead.

    Some, like Las Vegas homeless advocate Ruth Bruland, wonder what type of people would be willing to capitalize on the poor. Others, including Morality in Media president Robert W. Peters, condemn the video's popularity as yet another sign of moral decline in America.

    But Northwestern University sociology professor Bernard Beck says Bumfights is merely the latest successor in a millennia-old lineage stretching back to the gladiators of ancient Rome and leading more recently to Tonya Harding slugging Paula Jones on Fox.

    "One thrill is the amusement at what people are willing to do or let be done to them," Beck said. "Reality TV by its very nature doesn't have limits. The idea is to show things that are ordinarily private and watch things that people will volunteer to be in, which then gives you license to watch it."

    Still, the community outcry in Las Vegas is prompting the police to examine whether Leticia and Beeson broke any laws in creating the film. Sgt. Eric Fricker, who oversees the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department's homeless-focused detail, said his officers have identified at least one man who claims to have been given money by the Bumfights film crew to hit another man.

    To bring charges against the filmmakers for inciting a fight or being responsible for assault, though, police must locate the man who was hit -- and convince him to file a complaint.

    Many parts of the video seem staged. Aside from raw fighting, which actually comprises only about half of Bumfights, a man called Rufus the Stunt Bum is brought from California to do odd stunts. Shaggy-bearded, bulb-nosed Rufus is shown running headlong into signs, slamming into stacks of crates and sledgehammering a candy machine. Later, he's treated to a tattoo spelling out "B-U-M-F-I-G-H-T" on his knuckles, thus creating the key box-cover and website image.

    Of particular concern to Fricker are a series of segments called "Bum Hunter" in which an Australian man dressed in safari attire startles sleeping homeless men by tackling them and binding their ankles, wrists and mouths with duct tape.

    Be Safe Wear Your Vest

  • #2
    There is no bottom to how far down some folks will go to make money. [Frown]
    6P1 (retired)


    • #3
      What the Hell?
      "I feel like I'm Han Solo, and you're Chewie, and she's Ben Kenobi, and we're in that f***ed-up bar!"

      Jay the Prophet


      • #4
        Suddenly that girl's webpage to pay off her credit cards seems like a really good idea. I'd rather send her $22 then these bozos.


        • #5
          I had thought about getting this tape of the Bumhunter because my sister in Law is overly obsessed with the Croc hunter, and I though it would be funnny. I had no Idea that they were actually doing this for real. I figured it was all a hoax. I'm betting 90% of the people who bought the tape assumed it was all staged too.
          Come visit the Royal Dragon Kung Fu Discusion forums at www.dreamwater.net/biz/royaldragon/index.html


          • #6
            I'd watch this, but I wouldn't buy it.
            Ignorance can be remedied, stupidity cannot.


            • #7
              Of particular concern to Fricker are a series of segments called "Bum Hunter" in which an Australian man dressed in safari attire startles sleeping homeless men by tackling them and binding their ankles, wrists and mouths with duct tape
              I have to admit, the idea sounds fairly humorous as a spoof on the Croc Hunter. Of course, using unwilling homeless people would obviously be wrong.
              Bill R


              • #8
                Got to Bumfights.com (or is it bumfight.com)

                It's prety drn funny as a spoof o the Croc Hunter, I'd almost pay for it, till I found out theres are real assalts anyway.

                Something tells me this is all staged, and the locl PD is on a which hunt. I bet the "Stunt" bum is a retired hollywood stunt man dressed as a homelss guy. Why else would you need to max your credit as high as $50,000 to finance the project?? You could get a bunch of drunks to star in your film for free or cost of beer alone if it was real.

                When you put up $50,000 to film, it's staged. Heck, they did "Blair Wicth" project for like $4000, and they actually paid people to be in that one. The video is better quality too.

                [ 08-19-2002, 06:06 PM: Message edited by: Royal Dragon ]
                Come visit the Royal Dragon Kung Fu Discusion forums at www.dreamwater.net/biz/royaldragon/index.html


                • #9
                  I wouldn't pay for it but I'll watch if I can. I'm going to try and upload a copy off of a file swapping site and will let you know how it is if I can get it.
                  If you see me running try to keep up!


                  • #10
                    Hopefully DesertRat doesn't have a cameo in that movie - neither in uniform or as a bum!
                    NRA Life Member

                    The police are the public and the public are the police; the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence. - Sir Robert Peel

                    Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin to slit throats. - H. L. Mencken


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