Barger Versus Conglomerate

January 18, 2018

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Barger Versus Conglomerate

Yesterday, well known motorcycle enthusiast Ralph “Sonny” Barger asked his social media followers and fans to tell Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation to let go of his story, contained in his 2000 book Hell’s Angel: The Life and Times of Sonny Barger and the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club.

In a post on his Facebook page, Barger wrote:

Over the years I have always been asked… When are they going to make a movie based on your book, Hell’s Angel? Here’s a brief explanation:

In 2000, my life story, Hell’s Angel, came out and was quickly an International Bestseller. Soon after, Hollywood came knocking, wanting to make the book into a Major Motion Picture. For over a decade they put elite Hollywood writers on it, not one of them collaborated with me during that time, and not one of them produced a screenplay that was authentic from the book. They being 20th Century Fox. When I made the deal with Fox they agreed it would be an origins story of how I founded the Oakland Charter in 1957, with the great cast of iconic characters in my crew like, Skip Workman, Terry The Tramp, Johnny Angel, Doug The Thug, Zorro, Cisco, Big Al Perryman, etc.

All attempts to write a genuine story failed on their part. I guess they wanted to tell a different story, one that was fictional and portrayed us on how they felt society viewed us. Obviously, I wasn’t going to let that happen and never would! So on a last effort for Fox to make it right, and 13 years later, they let me choose two writers to collaborate with. Those two writers being independent filmmaker/writer, Jeff Santo(Dead In 5 Heartbeats, This Old Cub), and writer/producer/ director, Rob Weiss(Entourage, Ballers).

With Jeff and Rob we finally produced a screenplay that I approved, one that told the true historical origins story of the club and the rise of our Oakland charter, and the club’s expansion across the nation, and my fateful ride into Folsom Prison. In the end, even with our willingness to work with Fox on the story, they decided to shelve the script. Now Fox holds my book and story hostage. A story that is a part of American history. A story told through my eyes, my experiences, from my best selling book. Maybe they’re waiting for me to move on from this life and then tell it their way. Again, that will never happen! So I say this: Make the movie or free up our script and the book, and let someone who will.

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Tony Scott

20th Century Fox originally acquired the rights to Barger’s book on behalf of film director Tony Scott around the time the book was published. The director collected the film rights to books about the red and white motorcycle club. In addition to Barger’s book, the film company also bought the rights to Hunter Thompson’s book Hell’s Angels: The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs and Jay Dobyn’s No Angel: My Harrowing Undercover Journey to the Inner Circle of the Hells Angels.

Three years before he committed suicide in 2012, Scott bragged, “My dance card is so full, I’m so lucky…. I’ve got The Warriors, I’ve got Hell’s Angels – I’ve owned the Hunter Thompson book for 12 years and Steve Gaghan is writing the script right now. I own all these great titles.”

In the front-matter of Dobyn’s book Gaghan wrote: “If you want to understand the harrowing emotional realities of long-term undercover work, the balls-out courage and insanity of a multi-year infiltration, or just plain read a great story with an original American voice, then buy this boo, read it and wonder at every page if you’d have the stuff to pull it off yourself.”

Rumors about Scott’s Hells Angels movie lingered for years. Reportedly, Barger was paid $150,000 in payments spread out over several years for the film rights to his book. At various times, Johnny Depp (who had played hunter Thompson in the 1998 film Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas) was reported to have agreed to play Jay Dobyns and Mickey Rourke was supposedly cast to play Barger. But it all evaporated after Scott dove 185 feet from the Vincent Thomas Bridge in San Pedro into Los Angeles Harbor.


Barger will probably need luck as well as pluck to regain control of his life story.

20th Century Fox is a subsidiary of 21st Century Fox which is now the third-largest media conglomerate in the United States. The conglomerate also owns the Fox Entertainment Group which in turn own the Fox Networks Group which owns the cable network FX.

Among the most profitable shows ever cablecast on FX was Sons of Anarchy about a fictional outlaw motorcycle club that was very loosely based on the Hells Angels. That television show hired several members of the club including Barger to portray biker characters. Barger appeared as a character called Lenny “The Pimp” Janowitz in three episodes between 2010 and 2012.



35 Responses to “Barger Versus Conglomerate”

  1. Rob Coen Says:

    @Hilbilly,It’s not all so bad! I can tell you from up close that 1%ers are born not made. I’m not talking about any of the phony poser wannabees or any of the Harley “fashionistas” that seem to be everywhere. I knew the world was turning upside down when our local HD dealer started promoting their annual spring fashion show. Enough about that Bullshit. I’m talking about hang arounds and prospects. The real 1%ers will make it through that process and the others will walk away with no hard feelings intended. 1%ers are still walking through the door.

  2. david Says:

    All corporations are “legal fictions” which only exist in law, and men’s minds.
    Corporations do NOT exist in reality. All make believe, all the time.

    Corporations own real assets, yet those assets are not the fictional “creation”
    in law,AKA the corporation. HAMC patches are corporate owned property which do not belong to members.

  3. Dutchboy Says:

    Actually my comments were pointed more at Johnny and the Laughing boy.

  4. Dutchboy Says:

    @J Taylor, I was not rattling your cage directly. If you took my comments as a personal affront then the problem is on your end. While I do respect the Red and White, having met and known several, I make it clear that I AM NOT A PATCH MEMBER, PROSPECT, HANG AROUND OR RECOGNIZED ASSOCIATE. If you are then that is your business between you and them. As for the copyright and trademark issues regarding this and other clubs I do try to follow the news and other info sources. At one time pirating the patch could result in a nice long stay at your local hospital or an even longer stay someplace really quiet. Now there are other options which I see as a good thing. As for Sonny’s relationship with his Brothers I have heard of one individual who talked trash about Sonny and he ended up Out Bad. Seems that guy is still trying to make a buck of of being a Has Been. So I stand by my comment. If the 81 is good with Sonny then it isn’t our place to comment. If they have a beef with him then they are more than capable of handling it. Again thier biz not ours. Respect to those who earn it, Fair winds and following seas.

  5. J Taylor Says:

    The *ONLY* dirty laundry aired,exposed and brought to light HERE is WHERE ALL The $$$$$$ That Sonny collected,earned and coveted using the club name either in name,innuendo,conjecture,written referral,basis of membership, pictures,TRADEMARK REPRESENTATION or for promotion and personal gain . GET YOUR FACTS STRAIGHT DUDE…… YOU aren’t a CLUB MEMBER – nor are YOU aware OF THE FIGHT AND LONG TERM LEGAL BATTLES THAT SURROUND THAT TRADEMARKED LOGO AND THOSE who write about it and include it in their writing content and referrals to publishers that will use It and hold the party dictating the story as the guilty party – as well as Fritz Clapp working himself into a frenzy and rubbing himself RAW over copyright and trademark infringement battles and maybe litigation that he needs to persue idiots

  6. Dutchboy Says:

    For all of you ripping on Sonny and the 81 two comments:

    1. If you ain’t 81 then Argo Nunya. This is between Sonny and his Brothers. Comment on Sonny’s battles with the Hollywierd elite but Club Business is Club Business and none of ours.

    2. If you are 81 then I SERIOUSLY doubt you would air club laundry here, so my respects to you. If you are airing laundry I’m sure your P will be wanting a talk real soon.

    Respect to all that have earned it, and yea, Sonny and the 81 sure in the hell have. Kick their corporate asses Sonny

  7. J Taylor Says:

    @ JOHN COKOS : Sonny doesn’t “control” the club nor is he any type of appointed national leader or spokesperson : there is none in the (HAMC) because each Charter is an individual ENTITY UPON ITSELF -AS WELL AS A SPOKESPERSON for themselves & ENTIRELY INDEPENDENT & responsible for their OWN actions as long as it is NOT INVOLVING THE HAMC CORPORATION logo or name . Sonny is & has been looked upon and revered in his longevity ,popularity and loyalty from members and longtime membership – yet he’s been paid handsomely by many individuals BECAUSE of his membership and reputation,personna and position and that money has NOT seen it’s way spread to the entire or even partial membership – despite it’s common knowledge and advertised relation in name and pictorials to the HAMC Corporation .

  8. LOL Says:

    Sony barger sold out his club to hollywood for money they are nothing more then a marketing brand and coperation .. they were once an mc now just a franchise

  9. JOHN COKOS Says:

    J Taylor : All for One, and None For All? THE MONEY always gets the upper hand over ‘Brotherhood”….. You can’t build loyalty on it. When THE MONEY runs out, so does the “Brotherhood”.

  10. JOHN COKOS Says:

    How do I put this delicately: As for the issue of Sonny and THE MONEY, Possession is 9/10ths of the the law. Who owns the Hell’s Angels,Inc ? You can do whatever you like (within reasonable constraints of course) of what you control.
    Since I don’t have a horse in this race, if you can snatch a $1,000,000 of what you control, GO FOR IT….

  11. J Taylor Says:

    @OutlawArchive : YOU’RE 100% ON THE MARK accurate and speaking the truth .

  12. @OutlawArchive Says:

    Sonny received $1,000,000 for his life rights, to be paid out over a ten year period. NOT $150k. The club didn’t see a dime of that

  13. Pocket rocket Says:

    Kennedy I would have rode with you back in the day if we every meet we will drink a beer and say we still live this life to the fullness

  14. Hillbilly Says:

    @ Kenny, You speak the truth Kenny. Could not have said it better myself.
    I do not want movies made.I just want to be left alone to ride and live my life.
    These new dudes think that being a hardass and getting a couple of tats makes them a biker. Wrong

  15. Hero Says:

    @ Kenny. You could not have posted a more true statement. In accordance with what you said, I see that technology advancing will be the ultimate force in conforiming society.

  16. Kenny Says:

    The Angels made some movies years ago. Back in the 60z. Portraid bikers as drunk drugged out girl snatching desteructive glob of confusion. I guess grab some hollywood money and party was the true motive. But when serios bikers saw that we knew then that hollywood is not what a 1%er seaks. In fact he runs from mainstream life. I wish that instead of making fucking movies all clubs would realize that our way of life is dying with each old member. The gov looks to trap our solid leaders and the ones who could help guide us. Without old time real deal brothers showing the way, by leading their respective clubs. We have allowed a pop up population of wanna bees. Who yes can shoot u but cant change their oil. Being a biker and learning how to be a True 1%er is taught. O u may be billy bad ass or ride for 20 hours straight…But to be a Real Brother u learn by example and those ass chewing come church night.

  17. Not Surprised Says:

    Barger asked permission to publish the book. He intentionally added an apostrophe and changed the logo on the cover.I seriously doubt he kept all the money l.

  18. Aanon Says:

    Warmick, that last question was some funny shit.

  19. J Taylor Says:

    @Warmick : The HAMC Logo,Name,Spelling ( without the “s” and apostrophe after ANGELS) and Signature LOGO,Figurehead and Identifying LOGO/PICTURE OR “DEATHHEAD” are trademarked-and NOT FOR PUBLIC USE AND/OR PUBLIC Publication and-or reproduction for public or Private domain and or display without written consent of the HAMC CORPORATION . So *IF* sonny sold the rights,pictures or written content of his book without sharing and distributing that monetary windfall with the ENTIRE membership and ALL Charters – its a different world than what He described,adhered to and wanted to the club to follow in his direction and follow the CODE of Brotherhood and all for 1 -oNE For all .

  20. Hero Says:


    I did see they failed to mention they had snitches. 99% of these cases are informant heavy. I also noticed it said gang not club. They try to browbeat that rhetoric into the general Public’s mind, so when they sit in the jury pool it’s already a foregone conclusion.

    Keep in keeping on.

  21. Warmick Says:

    J Taylor Says:
    January 19, 2018 at 4:07 pm
    Sonny “pocketed” that 150K and the club received NOT ONE THIN DIME .

    You a commie J Taylor?
    If Sonny pocketed the money, maybe that is because he wrote the book.
    Should the soldier writing about his experience in The Golf War share the profits with the US Army?
    Will you split the money from your book “My Life as a Dancer” with America’s National Ballet Company?

  22. J Taylor Says:

    Sonny “pocketed” that 150K and the club received NOT ONE THIN DIME .

  23. FF Says:

    What happened to the $150K

  24. oldskewl Says:

    Hero Says:
    January 19, 2018 at 11:20 am
    “This article doesn’t read very well but its all I could find”

    I just read the story in your link. Notice when they state how they busted them they fail to mention “snitches” which is how they get 95% of all their fucking information.


  25. Chief Says:

    Interesting. I wonder if the recent purchase of 21st Century Fox’s movie properties by Disney is going to play into this. “Sonny Barger’s life story…brought to you by the House of Mouse.”

    Like I said…interesting.


  26. Hero Says:

    This article doesn’t read very well but its all I could find.

  27. Hero Says:

    @Rebel. Any news on the Black and White arrested in Tennessee?

    I think the profitability of this movie crashed at the same time the economy did in 2008 when he saw those motorcycles coming up for sale as the Weekend Warriors wanted to unload their Hobbies. It’s too bad it might have been a pretty good movie.

  28. Trebor Says:

    Boots Reeves founder?

  29. Patti Winch Says:

    My ole man is a Member of the Chicago Chapter, we would love to see this movie come to fruition #maketheSonnyBargermovie!

  30. TX_Biker Says:

    History is the version of past events that people have decided to agree upon. Napoleon Bonaparte

  31. Anonymous Says:

    It’s not the first time Hollywood does this and it won’t be the last. The movie was doomed before the ink dried.

    Expect to see a movie about angels on space Harleys teamed up with the Avengers to take down Thanos and the infinity gauntlet.

  32. Paladin Says:

    The only people that have any interest in real life outlaw motorcycle clubs are those that are paid to entrap, arrest and prosecute them, or those so called experts that can make money off of them by writing books, making movies / TV shows, etc.

    SOA was a success because it was fiction. If one can’t party 24/7 while running guns and screwing babes, one can at least look forward to tuning in and living that life vicariously for one hour once a week. The real day to day life of a club member (outlaw or otherwise) is not the stuff of box office hits. Another problematic area regarding the making of Mr. Barger’s movie is the club’s trademarked name and logo. If memory serves, neither can be used for personal gain. Without the use of the club’s name and logo, it would be just another biker movie.

    Bottom line? Fox bought the rights to the book and movie. If Fox thought they could make money making the movie, they’d make it. I have my doubts about a hashtag campaign changing minds at fox.

    However, not all is doom and gloom. Now might be the perfect time for Mr. Barger to go see his old pal Kurt Sutter. After all, their the best of pals. Right? Sutter has a pretty good track record with Fox. Who knows? With Sutter backing the play, it might be just what the doctor ordered. As everyone knows or should know, when it comes to all things outlaw biker, Sutter is to the executives at Fox what the Royal Vizier was to the Pharaohs of Egypt.


  33. Aanon Says:

    So fuckin Mickey tossed the guy over not getting to play the part. Literally the role of a life time. Hope like hell it comes to light. George who?

  34. Dutchboy Says:

    Can’t Barger sue for “failure to produce”? They contracted to produce the story and have failed to do so. As for them waiting for Sonny to die he could transfer his rights into a trust with very specific instructions. This looks like a David and Goliath story, but Sonny has a history of taking down giants.

  35. Va.Bob Says:

    Damn.There’s something embarrassing about a /twitter/hashtag/e-mail/whatever-the-fuck campaign against Hollywood shysters.As if it’ll work.Sorry I read this fuckin’ article.Yeah,I’d like for the author to have more artistic control over the movie,but damn…

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