: A sequel to Bum Fights

As of April 1, 2011 two homeless residents, George Grayson and Kyle Shaw of St. Petersburg, Florida are suing J.P Florida Productions, its owner Jeffery Williams as well as six female employees of the production company which is responsible for the videos posted and sold on  A temporary restraining order has been enacted and all eight defendants are each facing four charges including;  violation of the Florida Hate Crimes Act, violation of the Civil Remedies for Criminal Practice, Battery and Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress.

NCH’s own AmeriCorps*Vista volunteer G.W. Rolle who is based in St. Petersburg noticed a large number of homeless men walking around with limps, black eyes and other visible wounds beginning early this year.  After many inquiries he finally was told about a series of “beatdowns” being carried out by women associated with  This company (J.P. Florida Productions) would recruit homeless men to participate in their fights after which they would be paid up to $50.00 for enduring the twelve minutes of non-stop beating by scantly clad women.

Several years ago, NCH mounted a campaign against a similar groups of videos that were released under the name, BumFights.  These videos included homeless men beating each other up and performing dangerous stunts like banging their head through glass windows and going down stairs in a shopping cart. Rufus Hannah, now an NCH Speaker, and others who were compensated with a few dollars or a beer, suffered severe injuries as a result of the videos.  In a 60 Minutes investigation in 2006, a link was made between the BumFights videos, and youth who were “copying” what they saw in the videos, leading to random violence against people who were homeless.

According to the defendant in the case, the plaintiffs signed releases before they were beaten.  However, neither Mr. Grayson nor Mr. Shaw ever had any knowledge that videos of the beatings were going to be posted or sold on the internet, in some cases for upwards of $600.  Also the severity of the beatings was way beyond their expectations.  During many of the beating the men were tied up, thus unable to fight back at all.  Both plaintiffs have suffered severe injuries ranging from a dislocated jaw, to severe torso bruising to lacerations caused by whipping.  Not to mention that after several of the beating the plaintiffs were never paid the money that they were promised.

According to an article published in the St. Petersburg Times on Tuesday April 12, the defendant, Mr. Williams, was quoted saying that he planned to counter sue claiming that the plaintiffs and their advocates lied and damaged his reputation.  He also said “These men are crack addicts and will say anything for money.”

Legal counsel for Mr. Shaw and Mr. Grayson believe that the reason these men were targeted by was because they were homeless and vulnerable. Hence, Section 775.085 Florida Statue also know has as the Hate Crimes Act has been invoked on behalf of the plaintiffs.   A law that the National Coalition for the Homeless had a major hand in helping pass through the state legislature in the spring of 2010.  This is the first time since October 1, 2010 when the act took effect that it has been invoked.  Specifically the suit claims “Defendants chose to solicit, assault, and batter Plaintiffs because they were homeless, and Plaintiffs suffered injuries so severe as to evidence a hatred and contempt for people who are homeless.”

-Allison Sauls, Spring 2011 Intern

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4 Responses to : A sequel to Bum Fights

  1. Caroline says:

    I think these acts are despicable. Thanks Allison for bringing this issue to our attention!!

  2. Mad Doctor says:

    I find it rather ironic that this person ( Jeffrey Williams), finally catches the attention of the public with the flagrant disregard for morality. In other past videos, there was the audible sound of babies crying, while being involved with a staged combat video with Heather Mroz (a.k.a. Athena), who is also a silent partner in this company. The circumstances of other doings, such as helping Athena absconder (essentially kidnap), the children that could be heard. These children were illegally removed from Broward county, and taken from the father who has been facing a series of very complex obstacles over the last 15 months. Jeffrey Williams has also had direct involvement with the threats and a self proclaimed plot to ” set up the father, to force him into relenting, or face a set up that could lead to prison.” Where does it end???? When will people like Williams and Athena finally face the wrath of the public and in turn force the courts to act, to not only save these children, but protect the general public from a special breed of sociopaths? I personally think that the courts should strip them of everything and in turn, let the homeless have street justice with them. Please spread the message. Copy this message and repost every. Protect those who cannot protect themselves!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. The fact that we, as a society, have degenerated into the type of people who would actually create a market for this type of thing truly says a lot about us. we have become so jaded that, instead of showing compassion for those among us who are less fortunate and treating them with the respect and dignity they deserve as human beings, we can find no other use for them than exploitation. This is saddening. I am a homeless person who has seen the abuse acted out upon the homeless from both society and the police themselves. when do we as a nation begin to see just how wrong things lie this are, when do we begin to see our fellow man as someone of value, someone worth respecting, instead as a throw away and someone deserving only mockery and shame? I thank The National Coalition for the Homeless for trying to bring this issue into the light and doing what can be done to help. You have my respect and gratitude.

  4. admin says:

    Thanks for your comments and support of NCH!! Keep up the great work!

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