Bam Margera has taken his feud with his former friends from Jackass to another level. On Monday, it was announced that attorneys for Margera have filed a lawsuit against Johnny Knoxville, Paramount, MTV, and others in regards to his firing from JACKASS FOREVER. Margera is making claims that he was illegally fired from the upcoming sequel by Hollywood studios and producers so they could “steal” the lucrative franchise and not properly compensate him.
Per a press release, Margera and his loan-out company, Bam Margera, Inc., filed the lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court. The defendants named in the lawsuit include Paramount Pictures, MTV, Jackass co-creator Jeff Tremaine, Philip John “P.J.” Clapp (aka Johnny Knoxville), Adam H. Spiegel (aka Spike Jonze), Dickhouse Entertainment, Gorilla Flicks, and others. According to the lawsuit, Margera is seeking “redress for Defendants’ inhumane, abusive, and discriminatory treatment of Plaintiff Margera, and for their wrongful termination of him from the Jackass franchise he created.”
Bam is seeking millions of dollars in compensation and a preliminary and permanent injunction to prevent Jackass Forever’s release on October 22, 2021. Margera is being represented by Eric M. George, Dennis S. Ellis, Katherine F. Murray, and Serli Polatoglu of the law firm of Browne George Ross O’Brien Annaguey & Ellis. Margera’s longtime personal attorneys, Alison Triessl and Todd D. Thibodo are also involved with the case. The law firm had this to say about Margera’s lawsuit:
“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.”
Margera added a statement of his own that read, “I am p-ssed-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.”
Looking into the lawsuit further, Margera’s side of the firing story is pretty underhanded if it’s proven to be true. The suit states that Bam created Jackass long the show premiered on MTV in 2000 and in the years since its premiere, the franchise has made hundreds of millions of dollars in profits, which was “created, co-written, and produced by Margera, who came up with the vast majority of the franchise’s most memorable content with his CKY Crew.”
Things get dicey, according to the suit when Margera was coerced into signing a “Wellness Agreement” in March of 2020 as a way of executing his contract while he was vulnerable. The lawsuit alleges “While Margera was in a rehabilitation facility in 2019, Jonze (his producer) and Knoxville (his co-star), accosted him and coerced him into signing the draconian ‘Wellness Agreement.’ Margera was allegedly told by the pair that if he didn’t sign immediately, he would be cut from all future Jackass installments, and alleges he was barred from first consulting his attorney before signing the agreement.”
A lot of this went public when Margera was fired from Jackass Forever in August 2020 after, according to the suit, he put in considerable work into the movie, including filming scenes and developing dozens of ideas for other scenes. Margera claims there are a “vast majority” of his ideas that made it into the film and that he was fired after Paramount cited a purported violation of the “Wellness Agreement” which is something that Margera denies.
The “Wellness Agreement” that Margera was allegedly coerced into signing mandated that he had to complete daily drug tests multiple times a day, both scheduled and unscheduled. The requests for the drug tests could come in at any hour. of the day or night and Margera claims he was careful to follow every demand given to him, even though the suit claims the demands were “legally unenforceable” because the agreement was made by duress. The suit claims “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. Defendants’ treatment of Margera exacerbated his mental health issues and led to suicidal thoughts. But still, Margera persevered-only to have the rug pulled out from under him.”
The suit responds to claims that Margera because he failed one of their mandatory drug tests by adding “Defendants’ wrongful termination of Margera stems from the fact that one of the numerous drug tests Margera was forced to submit to demonstrated that he was taking prescription Adderall. Defendants knew full well that Margera took Adderall to treat his attention deficit disorder. He had been on this medication for several years. But all of this notwithstanding, and without even giving Margera an opportunity to explain, Paramount fired him.” The suit also points out that Margera was the only Jackass star terminated from the franchise for taking medication that he was prescribed–and that the studios and production companies were fully aware he was taking it as part of his medical regimen.
This whole thing is getting pretty ugly and, as of this writing, those named in the lawsuit have not made any comment on the matter. Somewhere in this story is the truth and it’s no secret that Bam Margera has had his fair share of struggles over the years but if there is any chance he has a case and something he helped create is being taken right from underneath him, he has every right to fight for it.
As of now, Jackass Forever is scheduled to hit screens on October 22, 2021. What are YOUR thoughts on Bam Margera’s lawsuit?