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"Bumfights" Video Creators Charged With Felonies
Aired September 26, 2002 - 14:42 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: Now, it may be the latest and cruelest twist on reality TV.
They're called "Bumfights," crudely shot videos of homeless people attacking one another, and themselves, in exchange for money, food or liquor.
Authorities in California have filed charges against four of the tapes producers and/or marketers, and we get that story from Dave Carlin of CNN affiliate KSWB in San Diego.
DAVE CARLIN, KSWB REPORTER (voiceover): A whirlwind for Donny and Rufus.
RUFUS HANNA, "BUMFIGHTS" PERFORMER: It was a good experience.
CARLIN: Being in "Bumfight" videos got them cash and hotel rooms, and in return, they willingly fight until bloody and perform crazy stunts.
HANNA: They give us $10, $5, after this -- video -- we were they made their -- millions of dollars. Then they started giving us maybe $100 apiece, at a time.
CARLIN: But one scene at this La Mesa location went wrong. Here it is: Rufus fighting Donnie.
DONNIE BRENNAN, "BUMFIGHTS" PERFORMER: Rufus socked me and I wasn't ready for it, and I twisted and I turned and I broke my ankle.
CARLIN: When he went to the hospital, a nurse called La Mesa police and they went after the men who put Rufus and Donnie up to this.
Four creators of "Bumfights" are in legal trouble. Two of them, including La Mesa native Ryan Edward McPherson, went to court and have hearings set for October 10. Two more are expected to turn themselves in tomorrow.
SGT. DAN WILLIS, LA MESA, CALIF. POLICE: It is the district attorney's theory and ours as well that you're not able to consent to have a felony committed upon you.
CARLIN: Even though everyone's consenting and paid to do this, police say it's against the law to encourage people to hurt themselves. The filmmakers are also accused of telling the players not to cooperate with police.
With production moved to Las Vegas, Rufus and Donnie say the fun stopped, and they were asked to start performing sexual act that made them feel uncomfortable. The men say "Bumfight" creators got greedy and no one should feel sorry for them now.
STEVE BOYD, RUFUS AND DONNIE'S FRIEND: I know they sold over 300,000 videos. I know they made close to $7 million. I know that they sold their interest out, five of them, and they made $1.8, 9, something million.
They each could have coughed up 20,000 to give to these guys.
PHILLIPS: Lawyers for two of the defendants claim that the action was fake.
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