Bam Margera, one of the creators of the hit franchise Jackass, is suing Paramount to stop the October release of Jackass Forever. In the suit, Margera alleges that he was illegally fired from the fourth film in the franchise and he seeks millions in compensation.
Fans of the Jackass franchise have seen this lawsuit coming for some time. In February, Margera called for his fans to boycott the film after he was fired for breaking a sobriety clause. In May, Jackass series director Jeff Tremaine filed a restraining order against Margera following a series of disturbing videos where the star accuses Tremaine and co-star Johnny Knoxville of abuse. Now, Margera has filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court against Paramount, Knoxville, Tremaine, and producer Spike Jonze, alleging that he was wrongfully fired.
According to the suit, Margera alleges that Knoxville, Jonze, and Tremaine surprised Margera while he was in a drug rehabilitation facility in 2019 and “accosted him and coerced him” into signing a “wellness agreement” that required frequent drug tests. Margera was fired after production on Jackass Forever began, and in the suit it says that he was terminated for taking Adderall, for which he is prescribed.
“Defendants knew full well that Margera had to take Adderall to treat his attention deficit disorder. He had been on this medication for several years,” the suit says. “Margera was the only ‘Jackass’ co-star terminated from the franchise for taking medication that he was prescribed, in order to treat his well-documented medical conditions.”
The suit claims that Margera only signed the wellness agreement under duress, and that its conditions were inhumane. It even tries to put Margera in the same sphere as the #FreeBritney movement, in which pop star Britney Spears has been fighting to be free of an allegedly abusive conservatorship.
“Unfortunately, traumatic as Margera’s experience may have been, it is not uncommon. Only recently have brave individuals felt empowered enough to come forward with their stories,” the suit reads, before linking to articles about Spears’ own legal battles. It’s clear that Margera and his lawyers are trying to drum up sympathy for the former Jackass star, who has burned most of his goodwill with fans through his aggressive and rebellious behavior over the past decade.
Margera vs. The World
In addition to claiming that Margera was wrongfully terminated, the suit also claims that Margera created the Jackass series. This is partially true, as Margera’s CKY skate and prank videos served as some of the inspiration for Jackass. The original MTV series combined Margera and his Pennylvania CKY crew with the “California crew” of Knoxville, Steve-O, Chris Pontius, and others.
“I am pissed-off, angry, hurt, and shattered that … 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,” Margera said in a statement through his attorney.
The entire situation is a tragic one. Margera has struggled with sobriety over the years, especially after the death of his best friend and co-star Ryan Dunn in a car accident in 2011. His drinking and drug binges have been well-documented on social media, and Margera’s downward spiral has only seemed to get worse.
For their parts, Knoxville and Tremaine seem to want what’s best for their former friend. In 2008, Knoxville and some of the other Jackass crew forced Steve-O into rehab. That act saved his life, and they served as a support system for him while he recovered. His journey, documented in the 2009 MTV documentary Steve-O: Demise and Rise, shows Knoxville and Tremaine as giving “tough love” to Steve-O when he needed it to save his life.
Steve-O commented on one of Margera’s recent Instagram videos, offering his own perspective on the situation:
“Everyone bent over backwards to get you in the movie, and all you had to do was not get loaded. You’ve continued to get loaded, it’s that simple. We all love you every bit as much as we all say we do, but nobody who really loves you can enable or encourage you to stay sick.”
In an interview with GQ in May, Knoxville also addressed the situation.
“I don’t want to get into public back-and-forth with Bam,” Knoxville said. “I just want him to get better.”
It’s understandable that the Jackass guys didn’t want him on set when he’s not sober, as several cast members work hard to maintain their own sobriety. Margera’s potential drug or alcohol use on-set could be a real danger to the guys who have managed to keep it together. Hopefully Margera and the rest of the guys can settle this out of court and Margera can get the help he needs to both stay sober and be happy.
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