Earlier on in the year the BBFC banned David Monaghan's documentary: Bare Fist: The Sport That Wouldn't Die. Perhaps they didn't realise that a major Hollywood film, Fight Club starring Brad Pitt would soon be covering very similar territory. It is
one thing to ban a small British offering but another to ban a high profile Hollywood film. The trouble for the BBFC is that, assuming that Fight Club gets their seal of approval then the arguments for banning Bare Fist look decidedly weak.
Unsurprisingly, David Monaghan is justifiable angry with the BBFC and is fighting back with all fists flying. He argues (edited):
The BBFC have now put themselves in a hideous position, of having to ban the Brad Pitt film outright, as they have done to mine, or pass Fight Club and set (yet another) precedent that will have them lose on appeal, with payment of huge damages to me for
the unlawful refusal of certificate.
The banning document is on the net at the BBFC's web site, which is being used to set a whole new legal process of pinning a ban on the web, without notification to a film maker, their career is ruined.
The BBFC are running a two faced censorship agenda of crushing local film makers, while supporting the work of Hollywood. Jack Straw has again become directly in the censorship process, although the whole system was set up to stop politicians using it
as an excuse to control intellectuals, thinkers and film makers in Britain.
Straw has ordered a judicial review of the Video Appeals Committee's decision to uphold the right of seven porn films featuring "real sex" to have R-18 certificates. Straw's personal intervention in this moral issue is making Labour far more
moral policemen in ordinary people's bedrooms and living rooms than the Tories ever were. The passing of old 70s film ( Exorcist, Driller Killer , etc) is a cover. Duval is far more savage than Ferman was, and is unwilling to even discuss the legality
of his cuts with British film makers.
So unsure is the BBFC of its legal footing, Duval has appointed a firm of solicitors to deal with all correspondence with me. He has never accepted even one phone call from me, the man he is banning.
This is a real nasty fuck-over by Whittam Smith and Duval, using lies about what is in my film. They do this time and time again to set up illegal and political bans on perfectly acceptable films. They are bad news.
The following letter was sent to Duval yesterday. The screening at 333 was stopped after intervention by the BBFC but I will be showing the film to audiences at secret locations in defiance of the BBFC in order to show up their illegal actions and lies
about my film.
To Robin Duval, Director & Andy Smith, President
Re: Jailing a film maker
As you will be aware, I am trying to sort out your unlawful use of a web site press statement as a method of legal service on Bare Fist . Your inability to understand basic premises of law concerning notification confounds me as much as your instance
on lying about the content and intent of my film on this statement to justify your political ban. You could have had to courtesy of using my name.
In the meantime, I give you details of an opportunity you have to have me arrested for showing the documentary you have banned. I will hold a public screening at 9pm on Thursday, September 30, at the Mother Bar, 333 Old Street, London, Hoxton. The
audience will pay a penny to have me jailed and protest your hypocrisy. At the showing, I will be tell the audience of the regime of lies, secrecy and racism run by your organisation. As I am a supporter of free speech, I invite you to come along, or send
a representative, to explain to the audience why they are too irresponsible to see this documentary. Alternatively, it may be to your nature to send a policeman to shut me up.
I fully expect you to lie about the existence of this protest against your censorship regime. I would, however, warn you that the lies on the web site about my film containing "instructions" to commit murder are libellous. They will be pursued
after my victory at the Video Appeals Committee.
I do hope you enjoy giving a certificate the bare fist violence of Brad Pitt's The Fight Club . This forthcoming piece of double faced hypocrisy will of course be presented to the Appeals Committee and to the public as yet another example of your political
suppression of documentary journals in favour of Hollywood glamorisation of violence.
Writer and Director: Bare Fist - The Sport That Wouldn't Die
Statement & Petition
WATCH A DOCUMENTARY!
JAIL A FILM MAKER!
Support out fight against the political suppression of Bare Fist - the Sport that Wouldn't Die
You are about to take part in an exercise in democracy - and have two British film makers jailed for two years.
The video you are about the see has been banned by the Blair Government, via its politicised censorship apparatchik, the British Board of Film Classification.
Stop, You're Killing Me! To justify an illegal ban on the film, the censor put a press statement on a web site on June 21, 1999, telling lies. The censor says the documentary has instructions on how to commit murder, and that it contains "gross
violence" - defined in law as images murder, torture or killing. The film contains no such scenes, and the government censor is lying to justify an illegal ban.
The censor banned the documentary under a 1994 amendment to the Video Recordings Act, which can jail film maker for portraying "criminal activity". This is despite the fact that bare fist boxing is not a crime in Britain. And it is despite
the fact the documentary has less violence than Hollywood movies.
But the film does give a voice to the culture of Gypsy men in the UK. And Jack Straw doesn't like Gypsies. It also reveals the government's own policy of making boxers use gloves has killed boxers. The government doesn't want you to know this.
To challenge Jack Straw's censorship regime, you are asked to pay one penny to the film maker's David Monaghan and Heidi Easton. Police can then arrest them under Britain's censorship laws, which are worse than any in Europe.
The film makers are doing this, because their livelihoods have been ruined by dishonest film censorship regime of the British government. We also believe in The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on
December 10, 1948. Article 19 of those Rights says:
"Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers"
After seeing the film, you are invited to sign a petition. This will go to Andy Smith and Robin Duval, Jack Straw's hatchet men from the British Board of Film Classification, and to the home secretary. You'll be kept informed of our struggle to allow
the British adults the freedom to see this sports documentary.
Yours in freedom of expression
David Monaghan Heidi Easton
Writer & director Producer/director: Bare Fist: the Sport That Wouldn't Die