Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Beat Down of Homeless Men

Socially the homeless are considered to be disposable because of their standing as members of an under class.  This is expressed through the few services that they are offered, as well how easily we walk by them each day, while failing to make eye contact, or even admitting our shared humanity. Because of their vulnerability they are seen as a mass simply waiting to be exploited by those that have the wherewithal to do so.

Shefights.net, a fetish site allegedly has been hiring homeless men to be beaten on camera by women for between 25-50 dollars.  It is the very vulnerability of these men that makes this offer enticing and it amounts to exploitation. 
It sounded like a good idea to George Grayson: Get $50 for submitting to a 12-minute videotaped beating by an attractive female.

A homeless man, Grayson needed the money.

So he followed the recruiters to a St. Petersburg townhouse on seven different occasions over the last few months, he said, and let five different women use his body and face as a punching bag.

Grayson, 37, became one of many St. Petersburg homeless men allegedly targeted by recruiters from Shefights.net, a locally operated website that sells for as much as $900 videos of scantily clad or semi-nude women beating up men, according to a lawsuit.

"I'm still in a little bit of pain from a couple of weeks ago," Grayson said last week. "I'm just trying to deal with it mentally right now." (source)
If the men do not last the complete 12 minutes, or attempt to fight back, they are denied the paltry sum that they were allegedly offered.  When I first heard about this, I was absolutely sickened and even now, I barely have the words to express my complete and utter disgust with this.

I remember years ago seeing an episode of Law and Order dealing with something like this years ago, but never did I imagine for a moment that this could really happen.

Shefights.net have answered the charges by stating on the following on their website:
Many of you have come here in response to inaccurate and libelous stories about us in the media.  We have chosen not to comment in the media because, unlike our accusers, our case is solid and we prefer to reserve all comments for court, where we have the advantage of law and facts. I will say that there is no truth to the allegations, the stories are simply that, stories paid for by the organizer of the suit, and an attempt to harass us in the media, as well as an attempt to shake us down before this goes to trial. We won't be intimidated, and these allegations against us will be disproved. 
This however does not coincide with the previous statements on this incident.

Williams, of Shefights.net, said Rolle coaxed and bought the testimony of Grayson and 20-year-old Kyle Shaw, the two plaintiffs in the suit. He said he plans to countersue, claiming the men and their advocates lied and have damaged his reputation.

"These men are crack addicts and will say anything for money," Williams said.

He said Grayson and Shaw were featured in some of the videos, but he said they signed liability releases and knew what they were doing.

"They've come back many times, which makes it pretty consensual," Williams said. Citing the case, he declined to speak about the videos or other specifics.
The fact that these men allegedly returned does not mean that exploitation was not taking place. If the choice is to starve or eat half rot food, who would choose to starve?  I find it interesting that the Shefights. net would stand behind agency when socially the homeless are often denied basic rights that accompany people of middle to upper class standing.  What other group do you know are expected to spend 100% of their income on food the way that the homeless are?  They cannot simply decide to buy a pack of smokes or a beer without facing negative consequences.  Even though we know that technology like cell phones and ipads helps to keep them connected to our world and serves as a way to maintain relationships, there is always some question as to whether or not they have the right to own these possessions.  Choice for the homeless is often only validated when it can be used to further oppress them.

According to G.W. Rolle, the activist who saw the broken and battered bodies of these men, we know first hand what this exploitation involved, but even reading this I cannot help but wonder how many of us would notice if someone who is homeless were hurt or even missing though we have a tendency to walk by the same people everyday?

All images on this post come directly from Shefights.net.
Many of you have come here in response to inaccurate and libelous stories about us in the media. We have chosen not to comment in the media because, unlike our accusers, our case is solid and we prefer to reserve all comments for court, where we have the advantage of law and facts. I will say that there is no truth to the allegations, the stories are simply that, stories paid for by the organizer of the suit, and an attempt to harass us in the media, as well as an attempt to shake us down before this goes to trial. We won't be intimidated, and these allegations against us will be disproved. Many of you have come here in response to inaccurate and libelous stories about us in the media. We have chosen not to comment in the media because, unlike our accusers, our case is solid and we prefer to reserve all comments for court, where we have the advantage of law and facts. I will say that there is no truth to the allegations, the stories are simply that, stories paid for by the organizer of the suit, and an attempt to harass us in the media, as well as an attempt to shake us down before this goes to trial. We won't be intimidated, and these allegations against us will be disproved. Many of you have come here in response to inaccurate and libelous stories about us in the media. We have chosen not to comment in the media because, unlike our accusers, our case is solid and we prefer to reserve all comments for court, where we have the advantage of law and facts. I will say that there is no truth to the allegations, the stories are simply that, stories paid for by the organizer of the suit, and an attempt to harass us in the media, as well as an attempt to shake us down before this goes to trial. We won't be intimidated, and these allegations against us will be disproved.