A new lawsuit is a little too shocking and bizarre to believe – homeless men claim that they were paid minimal sums to be beaten by half-naked women for a fetish website. After receiving emotional and physical “beatdowns” by the women, the men are suing for medical costs and emotional distress. Spokespeople for the site say that they will countersue.
One of the plaintiffs, George Grayson, said that he submitted to seven “beatdowns” over the course of several months, for which he was paid about $50. “I’m still in a little bit of pain from a couple of weeks ago,” he said. “I’m just trying to deal with it mentally right now.”
The website descriptions show just how horrible these “fights” were:
“This is the second part of Julie’s domination beatdown of Army Guy,” one reads. “In this final part, she whips her biggest admirer with a crop, tramples him, puts him in bondage, spits on him, and totally humiliates and dominates him while also displaying her usual array of kicks and punches. This is a Julie very few have seen before.”
Homeless advocate G.W. Rolle said that he began to investigate the issue when he noticed homeless men with black eyes and split lips. He began interviewing and photographing men with similar injuries and stories, and eventually the lawsuit was filed, saying that the men were vulnerable, desperate for money, and exploited by Jeff Williams, J.P. Florida Productions, “Cindy Doe” and “Jane Does 1-5.”
Spokespeople for the site have said that the men consented to the “beatdowns,” and knew what they were getting themselves into. “These men are crack addicts and will say anything for money,” Williams said. “They’ve come back many times, which makes it pretty consensual.”
The issue will, of course, be trickier if the men did actually consent to the beatings, but even so, their vulnerability seems to cast the websites’ actions into a dangerous moral territory. Of course, as Anna North writes on Jezebel, “‘corporal punishment and domination’ can be enjoyable for some people when it’s consensual” – even though this doesn’t seem to have been very consensual because it involved a vulnerable population. How the law will come down is another question, but the whole situation is incredibly ethically dubious – and clearly damaging for the homeless men involved.
Photo from andi.vs.zf via flickr