'Bumfights' Video Producers Settle Suit
SAN DIEGO – The producers of videos featuring homeless people brawling and performing dangerous stunts have agreed to settled a lawsuit filed by three men they filmed, the men's attorney said.
The four filmmakers agreed to pay the men damages and not to produce any more "Bumfights" videos or distribute the ones they have already made, under a settlement announced Thursday as the lawsuit was to go to trial.
Financial terms were not disclosed.
"The moral of the story is don't take advantage of handicapped, disabled or homeless people," said the men's attorney, Mark T. Quigley. "It's the wrong thing to do."
Rufus Hannah, Donald Brennan and Peter LaForte claimed they were plied with drugs and alcohol before they were filmed.
Authorities have said more than 300,000 copies of the videos were sold over the Internet. The videos depict homeless men and women engaged in humiliating, self-destructive acts, including ripping out teeth and ramming themselves into doors.
Felony charges including battery were filed in 2002 against the four filmmakers: Ryan McPherson, of San Diego, and Zachary Bubeck, Michael Slyman and Daniel Tanner, all of Las Vegas.
A judge reduced the counts to misdemeanors and the four pleaded guilty in 2003 to arranging a fight without a permit. They were fined $500 each and ordered to perform community service at a homeless shelter.
McPherson and Bubeck were sentenced to 180 days in jail in February 2005 for failing to complete their community service.