Jackass star Bam Margera accuses movie studio & ex-friend Johnny Knoxville of 'abusive treatment' in scathing lawsuit
JACKASS star Bam Margera is suing the Hollywood studio behind the upcoming Jackass Forever movie as he alleged he was fired so they could steal his stake in the lucrative franchise.
Former skateboarder Margera, who has been part of the TV and movie hit since 2000, was let go in February after he allegedly broke the contract due to his erratic behavior.
But in a lawsuit filed with LA Superior court Monday, Margera claims Paramount Pictures, MTV, film director Jeffrey Tremaine, and a string of producers including Jackass co-star Johnny Knoxville and Spike Jonze, are trying to steal the rights to the franchise without compensating him.
The lawsuit states Margera wants to “to seek redress for Defendants’ inhumane, abusive and discriminatory treatment” of him and for wrongful termination from a Jackass franchise he created.
Margera, 41, is seeking millions of dollars in compensation and damages and wants an injunction to prevent the film’s release in October.
The suit says that in March 2020, Paramount executed a contract with Margera for a fourth Jackass film.
However, they slapped a condition on the daredevil's participation on his adherence to a “Wellness Agreement.”
The lawsuit states that while Margera – who has a history of substance abuse – was in a rehab facility in 2019, Jonze (his producer) and Knoxville (his co-star), "accosted him and coerced him into signing the draconian ‘Wellness Agreement’."
The pair allegedly told Margera if he did not sign then and there, he would be cut from all future installments of the Jackass films.
This would cut off Margera’s primary income, and sole means of supporting his family, the suit states.
Having no choice, Margera signed the agreement, according to the suit.
By August 2020, after Margera had already put considerable work into the movie, including filming scenes and developing dozens of ideas for the movie, Paramount terminated his contract, citing a violation of the “Wellness Agreement.”
The agreement obligated Margera to complete daily drug tests, multiple times per day, scheduled and unscheduled, requests for which could come in at any hour of the day or night, the suit says.
“Defendants went so far as to employ a doctor who Facetimed with Margera every morning to ensure Margera took the cocktail of pills that Paramount’s medical team prescribed to him – pills that left him physically and mentally drained, depressed, and a shell of his former self,” the suit states.
Margera did not slip up, the suit said, but his poor treatment only exacerbated Margera’s mental health issues and led to suicidal thoughts.
But still, Margera persevered only to have “the rug pulled out from under him,” the lawsuit claimed.
“Paramount’s inhumane treatment of Margera cannot be tolerated,” his attorney Eric M. George said.
“He was made to endure psychological torture in the form of a sham 'Wellness Agreement,' and then ultimately terminated for his protected class status due to his medical condition, and his complaints about Defendants’ discriminatory conduct towards him.”
George added: “While Margera has given Jackass – quite literally – more than two decades worth of his blood, sweat and tears, the defendants have not repaid him in kind.
“Rather, Margera, who has a documented history of mental health issues, including diagnosed bipolar disorder, has been the victim of unconscionable discrimination at the hands of defendants.”
In a statement given to The Sun Margera said: “I am pissed-off, angry, hurt, and shattered that Johnny (Knoxville), Jeff (Tremaine), Spike (Jonze) and the studios and producers ripped off my creativity, content, and stunts to make this movie, fired me without justification, and refuse to pay for my work; I created this franchise before any of these guys ever got involved.
“My lawsuit isn’t just about compensation. It’s about treating people with mental health and addiction issues in an honest manner and not taking advantage of their disabilities to rip them off.”
Margera was one of the original founding members of Jackass when the show became an MTV hit in 2000.
Paramount and MTV have since made hundreds of millions of dollars to date on the popular TV and film franchise that was created, co-written, and produced by Margera, his attorney says.
The daredevil is represented in the suit by leading law firm Browne George Ross O’Brien Annaguey & Ellis and longtime personal attorneys Alison Triessl, and Todd D. Thibodo.
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