After the last 18 months, I can’t wait for the dumb fun of Jackass 4. Introspective dramas about emotions and junk can wait: I want to see Johnny Knoxville, Steve-O, Chris Pontius, and the gang getting whacked in the nuts. But there’s a cloud hanging over the production, with former Jackass Bam Margera very unhappy after being fired from the movie.
Margera has had a high-profile struggle with addiction, though his friends managed to convince the studio that he should appear in Jackass 4. Paramount’s condition was that he sign a ‘Wellness Agreement’: consenting to frequent breathalyzer tests, twice-weekly urinalysis, hair follicle testing, and that his medication be monitored by a doctor via Facetime. But it appears that Margera broke this contract and was subsequently fired in early 2021.
Since then there’s been bad blood between Margera and the production team, leading to him being slapped with a restraining order after reportedly threatening director Steve Tremaine’s wife and children. Now Margera has responded with legal action of his own, filing a lawsuit against Paramount Pictures, MTV Networks, Jeff Tremaine, Johnny Knoxville, Spike Jonze, and others involved in Jackass 4.
Margera’s legal team claims he was “coerced” into the agreement, which is described as “psychological torture” and compared to Britney Spears’ controversial conservatorship. It argues that his firing was unjust, with his attorney Eric George saying:
“Margera did not slip up. He followed the provisions of the Wellness Agreement to a tee, at great personal cost. 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 specifically claims Margera was fired after testing positive for Adderall, which the studio was reportedly aware he had been prescribed to treat his ADHD. The suit claims that this Wellness Agreement was in breach of California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act, a civil rights violation, a wrongful discharge of public policy, and unlawful retaliation.
Margera is also claiming that he deserves full credit for creating Jackass, saying that the show wouldn’t exist without his original CKY videos and that he’s entitled to a share of the profits.
All of this seems like a fairly long shot legally speaking, though if Margera really was fired for taking a prescribed medication then he may have a chance at compensation. Even so, it looks like he’s burning a lot of bridges with his former friends right now and I have to wonder who’s paying for these lawyers.
Jackass 4 hits theaters on October 22nd, 2021.