Gladiator DVD mocks deaths of 96 innocent people. Please read

Don’t know what thread to put it in. Any moderator thinking it should be in a different forum, please move it, but please leave it open.

Am too saddened to rant, but here’s the story.

On 15th April 1989, a horrific sporting tragedy occurred. 96 people were crushed to death on the terraces of the Liverpool vs Nottingham Forest FA Cup Semi-Final, played at the Hillsborough stadium in Sheffield. This was caused, according to the Taylor report (official independant inquiry into the disaster, set up by the Government), by police negligence. They did not take heed from previous near-misses at the same ground (including the corresponding fixture the previous year, between the same teams) that congestion occurred at the Leppings Lane end of the ground, where thousands of people have to get through a very small amount of turnstiles. The crush caused by thousands of fans turning up at the stadium half an hour before kick-off, without barriers/fencing to disperse the crowd/slow them down or adequate police coverage created panic, and the police ended up opening a gate allowing thousands of fans to run unchecked through the outer gate. Lack of adequate policing or signs once inside the ground meant that the fans all headed into the central pens (already full), when the side pens were half-empty. Because there was mesh at the front of the pens, designed to stop “hooligans” getting on the pitch, there was nowhere to go, and people were crushed under the feet of other helpless fans. 96 people died, men, women and children. People trying to escape by climbing over the fencing were pushed back in by policemen outside the barriers. Fans in the fans’ areas above these pens tried to help the trapped fans by hauling them up to safety. The police responded to this by, among other things, releasing a statement to the police that the “drunken” fans had broken the gate open (later retracted as a falsehood), taking the alcohol level of the dead fans (even the children) in a step never taken before, and destroying a video tape from a security camera that they then declared was faulty, even though the technician says he’d fixed it that morning, and was watching the disaster on that particular camera as it unfolded.
snips brief history even though many more unsettling facts have not been mentioned

Cut to: Gladiator DVD. The makers, thinking of add-ons to make the DVD more enticing, hit upon a programme showing the correlation between violence with sport. In this programme, now on release in the UK (and I presume the same version is on sale in America), actual footage of fans desperately trying to save others from being crushed, is being shown as an example of violence in sport. The grief this must bring to the survivors and bereaved is incalculable. Not only is footage of their loved ones dying being thrown out as titillating backup to a Hollywood film about gladiators, the link for doing so is to show an example of thuggery and violence, when the actual scene was anything but, as it has been proved to have been caused by police negligence.

For anyone interested in more facts on the Hillsborough tragedy, check out the book “Hillsborough: The truth” by Phil Scraton (reviews can be found on the net, eg and do a search for “Hillsborough Tragedy” using a search engine.

For anyone interested in criticising the producers of this film, check out the following forums at the websites of the companies concerned:
Universal Studios
and add your own comments.

The other forum, not appearing in that last post, for some reason, is Dreamworks

As someone for whom watching Hillsborough unravel is a very vivid childhood memory - one that hit me very deeply - I don’t really know how to respond, save for a desire to lock the producers of the DVD in a big metal cage and slowly crush them.


Well, FWIW, here’s the Yahoo Shopping listing.
Here’s the listing of what comes on the DVD. Would the anti-violence stuff be under “Supplementary Material”?

• 2 Pack
• Color
• Dolby Digital 6.1 Surround
• Widescreen/Letterboxed
• Cast and Crew Biography
• Movie Trailers
• Contributor Commentary
• Photo Gallery
• Bonus Scenes
• 2-Disc Set
• In English
• Subtitled in English
• Dreamworks Home Entertainment

Disc One: Theatrical Version
Additional Release Material:
Audio Commentary - 1. Ridley Scott - Director

Disc Two: Supplementary Material
Additional Release Material:
Additional Footage - 1. TREASURE CHEST
Deleted Scenes/Outtakes
Audio Commentary - 1. Ridley Scott - Director
Production Interview - 1. Hans Zimmer - Composer
Trailers - 1. Original Theatrical Trailer
2. TV Spots
Text/Photo Galleries:
Essay - 1. Production Diary - Spencer Treat Clark
Stills/Photos - 1. Slide Show
2. Behind the scenes
Concept Art
Production Notes
Biographies - 1. Cast & Crew

I purchased the DVD of Gladiator the day it came out here in the US, and promptly watched all of the supplementary material, as this is a time period in which I am very interested.

I did not see any mention of the Hillsborough tragedy. It’s possible that I missed it, or it’s possible that different supplementary materials were included in the UK release. Given the fiascos I’ve dealt with regarding region encoding with DVDs (psst, hooray DeCSS) I think it’s entirely plausible that specific markets are targeted with specific materials.

With that in mind, of course, I’m going to carefully peruse the materials on the DVD when I get home from work. If there’s another US doper who has easier access to the DVD, please beat me to the punch- I won’t be able to post my findings for another ten hours or so.

Looking at this official report from the Daily Post:

Apparently, it’s near the end of the documentary.

"as it has been proved to have been caused by police negligence. "
Hmm, no. They didn’t prevent it, but they did not cause it. Human stupidity caused it. One idiot crushed up against the other causing it. If the police would have herded the crowed toward the fence, guns blazing, then maybe they would have caused it.

Kvallulf, you’re talking out of your arse. Read the Taylor report (the official independent report) and actually find out what the fuck really happened before you go round spouting shit about what you think happened. Human stupidity did cause it, but if you bother to read the information that’s available, you’ll find out whose.

Again we get into a discussion of limits. The Hillsborough incident is tragic to you because of its proximity to you in both time and space. The gladiator battles, based on a long Roman tradition of bloodsport, including the murder of innocent men, women, and children, are less offensive both because the movie is is a fictionalized version of those actual events and because we are unlikely to know or be particularly related to those who were killed.

Were the deaths of those 96 people mocked by the inclusion of that video? If so, how? Was the video included purely for titilation, as it was when shown on Fox’s “Scariest Videos” (or whichever show they had it on)? Or does it serve a purpose beyond titilation, as a particularly graphic example of modern fan violence. I do not accept the complete lack of culpability on the part of many fans–if they had not been pushing forward those others would never been crushed. OTOH, it is far from the best example available; I have seen plenty of hooligans on video.

I really don’t care what the “Independent Taylor Report” says, yes people died, it sucks. But the Officers did not cause it. They did not step on anyone, or beat them about the head with their clubs. They did not cause any deaths. They didn’t do enough to prevent them. Its that Mob mentality that killed the people.

“hooligans”? “Modern fan violence”? dropzone - what the bloody fuck are you talking about? Choose your words with a little more care and a little more respect for the dead.

This wasn’t violence. These weren’t hooligans. For fuck sake - everybody involved was supporting the same side anyway! Nobody was fighting anybody else. Bah… I’m losing the power of speech in anger here. The issue was too many people admitted into too small a space at once with no way of turning back due to the influx of new people coming in. The police then compounded this by refusing to open gates to ease the pressure.

Have you ever been in a large crowd? It has its own dynamic, well beyond the control of any individual member. When 10,000 people are all let into a small enclosed space at once, do you really think that any individual members of that crowd have any power to direct events?

And to preempt any questions about why those coming in did so - they couldn’t see what was happening. As far as they knew, the game had started, they were missing it and they were looking forward to enjoying a cup semi-final. These were excited young people excitedly moving down a narrow tunnel only to find themselves in hell at the other end of it. To suggest that they had any intent, to call them hooligans is an insult beyond disgrace. I am sickened by your attitude.

96 people died that day, in a horrible way. Like millions of people across the country I saw it happen. Fuck you for your callous attitude.

I haven’t see the DVD and don’t feel able to comment on that but I was watching the day it happened (BBC, live FA Cup semi-final).

I hope they don’t show what the live feed was showing (no one knew at that time that people were dying under the weight of bodies). I remember the first interview as events were unfolding and the interviewee said people were dying, then they cut back to the studio and Des Lynham said it was all a bit premature. In the background people started to use advertising hoardings as stretchers. Fuck.

If it is as you are saying, Biffer, then it is callously exploitative and appalling.

What must those poor families think ?

The use of the word “hooligan” so close to discussing the victims of this incident was a bad choice on my part. In no way do I think they were anything but victims of the violence of others. Nor do I feel that anybody wanted to crush or kill anybody else. OTOH, I have been in such a crowd when some wise asses at the back started pushing us forward against a locked door. They WERE committing violence. And the blame did not fall on the people who had locked the door, but on those who continued to push in when there was no place for anybody to go. Thankfully, the crowd was considerably smaller and a few well-placed elbows into the people behind me helped.

I see. And did anybody tell the people responsible for opening the door that people at the front were dying? That they needed to open that door now, lest the death toll escalate? Did those people have the power to open that door straight away but chose not to? If not then fuck that analogy.


Ah, but they COULDN’T open the door! After a famous fire fire at the Cocoanut Grove nightclub fire laws over here were changed to require the doors of public buildings to open outwards to facilitate emergency exiting. This crowd was pushing to get IN.

“The Sun” didn’t care what the “Independent Taylor Report” said either, it had it’s own juicy titbits, as you have. The officers did not cause it? Tell that to the fans who were pushed back in to the pens by police officers. To the police officers not properly monitoring the videos to give the orders to open the pens, to the officers who refused to open the pens, even when they could see the carnage unfolding, because they had received orders not to open the pens without orders from superiors (superiors who had mysteriously dried up - eyewitness reports stating that Duckenfield had ‘frozen’). To Duckenfield who gave the order for the outside gate to be opened, without giving another order to block off entrance to the middle pens. To Duckenfield for ignoring the advice of an official report written 3 years earlier warning of just such a disaster. To those in the South Yorkshire Police Force responsible for promoting Duckenfield to Chief Organizer of a major FA Cup Semi-Final just days before the game, when he had never organized such an event before. To Duckenfield, whose lack of reaction ensured that while people lay dying, while fans ran the length of the pitch using advertising boards as stretchers, etc that the hospitals were not informed, that ambulances were not called, that the official disaster plan was never called into action, that junior police officers were left to deal with matters as they saw fit, with no instructions from senior officers. Your comments are offensive and ignorant, you jump to accept slight rumours and wrong conclusions, and your lack of the facts in this case, calling innocent fans murderers, positively reeks, and I hope the bereaved and friends of the deceased do not read your comments. I am offended enough by your casual damning of innocent victims, but if I was personally involved in the tragedy, I would be overwhelmed.

wise asses? They wanted to get in and see the game, as would I. If you are not informed that there is a problem, and the game has already kicked off and you are missing it, you will be in a rush to get in. What the crowd needed was control. Crowd control is provided by the police. They failed miserably. Therefore the police fucked up. They then lied to cover themselves, and fabricated evidence against the Liverpool fans. And you blame the fans?

Who was pushing these people? What happend to them? Oh, thats right, they are innocent, after all they just wanted to see the game. Its okay to crush people to death to see a FUCKING game.

Ok… First things first. Do you have any verification that what you are saying about hillsborough and the documentary is true. Also, this is a british documentary that was produced by the learning channel. The producers of the DVD did not pick and choose the footage, they are showing the entire documentary. If what the documentary did was so horrible, why did british citizens not protest when it came out. And why are people angry at Galdiator and it’s studios, shouldn’t they be upset at the learning channel.

Right now, this seems very fishy, and it sounds like people are jumping to conclusions, and fear mongering. As we like to fight ignorance here, maybe you’d be so kind to try and find out more facts before you start posting stuff like that.

Well, yeah, I do. And I’m tired of an attitude these days of “Well, nobody stopped me, so it’s their fault.”

The cops failed miserably, especially with their attempted coverup. The organizers failed miserably with their poorly designed crowd control. But the people who killed those innocents were those fans who started pushing from the back.