Paramount Accused of Firing ‘Jackass’ Actor Over Mental Health
(Bloomberg) -- Paramount Pictures Corp. was sued by “Bam” Margera, the actor and stunt performer known for the “Jackass” comedy television and film series, who claims he was discriminated against over mental health issues and wrongfully fired from the franchise’s fourth film.
Margera accused Paramount of “inhumane, abusive and discriminatory treatment” and alleges he was thrown off the cast for “Jackass Forever” in February for taking the drug Adderall, even though it had been prescribed to him as treatment for his attention deficit disorder. Team members behind the franchise, Jeffrey Tremaine, Philip John “P.J.” Clapp, known as Johnny Knoxville, and Adam H. Spiegel, known as Spike Jonze, are among the defendants in the suit filed Monday in Los Angeles Superior Court.
The actor, who says he also has bipolar disorder, an eating disorder and substance abuse issues, claims he was mistreated because he suffers from disabilities. Paramount terminated him after citing a violation of a “Wellness Agreement” that he was “fraudulently induced” to sign while he was in a rehabilitation center in 2019, according to the lawsuit. He was required to uphold the agreement to participate in the film.
“Knoxville (his co-star) and Tremaine (his director), accosted him and coerced him into signing a draconian ‘Wellness Agreement,’” under which he was obligated to “complete daily drug tests, multiple times per day, both scheduled and unscheduled, requests for which could come in at any hour of the day or night,” according to the complaint.
Paramount didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. Tremaine, Knoxville and Jonze couldn’t be immediately reached for comment.
In the complaint, Margera’s lawyers described his experience as “not uncommon,” saying stars including Britney Spears have suffered similar mistreatment. “Only recently have brave individuals felt empowered enough to come forward with their stories,” Margera said in his complaint.
Margera is seeking monetary damages and “millions of dollars in compensation,” as well as a court order to block the film’s Oct. 22 release, according to a statement by his attorneys from law firm Browne George Ross O’Brien Annaguey & Ellis LLP.
“My lawsuit isn’t just about compensation,” Margera said in the statement. “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.”
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