The Belfast Telegraph and Sinn Fein are leading a campaign to KO eBay auctions of DVD bare-knuckle gypsy-on-gypsy fight action. The newspaper has already provoked eBay.co.uk to pull two auctions for such material, although there is plenty of raw footage still available to eager punters, such as this sale (soon to be counted out, we have no doubt), which declares:
This is Real Bare Knuckle Gypsy Fights on DVD! Over two hours of Gypsys punching the hell out of each other and shouting stuff that you wont be able to understand!
Filmed in England, Ireland and Scotland in country lanes, warehouses and front gardens! This is real footage all caught on camcorder, so dont expect hollywood quality. Just like the film Snatch, only this is for real!
A 100% Genuine Gypsy production comes on a disc like the one pictured below. No sleave, bare disc of Bare Knuckle Fights!
After getting the Belfast Telegraph tip about two similar promotions, an eBay spokesperson told the paper: "These items contravene eBay listings policy and our customer service teams ended the auctions as soon as the Belfast Telegraph alerted us to them."
For its part, Sinn Fein has condemned the DVDs as "racist incitement to hatred". The organisation's spokesperson on human rights (yes, you read that right), Catriona Ruane, said "members of the Travelling community were not the only people to be exploited in this way", citing the example of the scandalous US Bumfights, where you can see "real bums trade blows on the streets, chick fights, bum stunts, sick pranks, crime caught on tape, crackheads, street fights, supermodel Angela Taylor, and hands down the rawest, most core ruckus ever filmed".
What, no "supermodel Naomi Campbell battering her PA with a PDA"? That's a real shame, although not according to Ruane who rather marvellously continues: "We [Sinn Fein] are against the exploitation of violence in any way."
There is, nonetheless, a legitimate legal point to be made here. A Traveller's support group in Belfast said it "did not condone the sale and was concerned that eBay could effectively be profiting from an illegal event". Which is true, 'cos bare-knuckle boxing is illegal in the UK, unless you're John "Slugger" Prescott, in which case you can punch away with impunity and the TV can run the footage to its heart's content.
Stateside, meanwhile, the ne'er-do-wells behind Bumfights earned themselves some jailtime back in February after failing to do 280 hours of community service work after they pleaded guilty in June 2003 to misdemeanor charges of conspiracy to stage an illegal fight.
And regular readers will, naturally, recall the shocking case of Sharon Pikey and Lisa Greyhound, bare-knuckle boxeresses as exposed by an El Reg hack and avidly investigated by CNN. ®