A director who filmed a scantily clad woman beating a homeless, developmentally disabled and mentally ill man was sentenced to seven years in prison Monday in Clearwater, FL.
The Associated Press reported that 61-year-old filmmaker Jeffrey Williams produced the video — and hundreds of others like it — for distribution to the bondage and sadomasochism porn market.
Zuzu Vargo, 27, was sentenced to three years for her role in the beating. In the video, she punched and kicked the unnamed victim in the face and ribs, knocking him to the ground. She was paid $300 to appear in the film, whereas the homeless victim was paid $50.
Attorneys for Williams and Vargo argued that the victim had signed a waiver prior to filming, but Circuit Judge Keith Meyer was unpersuaded. He and prosecutors agreed that the homeless man in the video was clearly not of sound mind when he gave his consent.
“I find it completely incredible that you would not have picked up within the first few seconds how substantially he was impaired,” Meyer said.
Raw Story contacted Christa Faust — a dominatrix and the author of several books, including erotic noir thrillers Money Shot and Choke Hold — who said that even if a homeless person is in their right mind, the question of consent is a blurry one.
“Even if the person is consenting, they’re really broke and it’s not like they would do it if they had all the money they needed,” said Faust. “So, it’s not really consent if somebody’s doing something because they’re economically disadvantaged.”
As far as the genre of film featuring women assaulting homeless men, Faust declared herself baffled. She said that plenty of porn consumers like to see videos of women fighting other women, “but I’ve never heard of it being a homeless guy.”
“Surely it can’t be that hard for them to find submissives who would be perfectly happy to have this done to them,” she said. “I could give you four or five numbers right now. So, what’s the angle? Why does it have to be homeless people?”
“That’s got to be part of it, looking at it from the point of view of the wanker,” she mused, “that it’s this innocent person who doesn’t like it. It’s just odd, though. I refuse to believe that the non-consensuality isn’t at least a part of it.”
In court, the AP reported, Williams said, “We’re not in the business of hurting people. We’re in the business of a fantasy enactment for a certain subset of the population. I deeply regret the pain and the anguish that we caused.”
Vargo told the judge, “I shouldn’t have trusted the judgment of someone else. I’m so sorry for all the trauma and distress.”
The two are currently awaiting a second trial on two counts each of aggravated abuse of a disabled adult in the beating of another homeless man.
David Ferguson is an editor at Raw Story. He was previously writer and radio producer in Athens, Georgia, hosting two shows for Georgia Public Broadcasting and blogging at Firedoglake.com and elsewhere. He is currently working on a book.
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