Lawyers for Paramount Pictures have responded to former “Jackass” star Bam Margera’s lawsuit that’s trying to halt the release of the upcoming “Jackass Forever,” saying that Margera’s suit from August is “baseless” and “riddled with outright lies.”
The filing obtained by TheWrap says that Margera, whose real name is Brandon Cole Margera, was fired from “Jackass Forever” on August 25, 2020, for breaching his contract and failing to follow a “sobriety and wellness program” that it says he agreed to in order to participate in the film. But it adds that “the wheels came off” within a few months and that he committed multiple breaches of that wellness program.
The studio pushed back and denied many of Margera’s claims, including accusations that Spike Jonze, Johnny Knoxville and director Jeff Tremaine “accosted him” in a rehab facility and forced him to sign a “draconian sobriety contract,” that he was forced to sign a talent contract with Paramount and, among the most explosive of Margera’s claims, that the studio hired a doctor who forced him to take a “cocktail of pills.” Margera also said that he was fired after testing positive for Adderall, which he claimed in the suit was prescribed for him, but the studio’s response says Margera “admitted” that “he bought it off the street.”
The filing also says that after Margera was fired, he “spun even further out of control” and made public and private threats to the producers and to Tremaine and his family.
“Then, with no remorse or acceptance of responsibility for the damage he was causing his former partners, friends, and himself, Margera filed this baseless, manifestly dishonest lawsuit, which threatens to enjoin the upcoming release of ‘Jackass Forever,’” the filing reads. “Apparently, Margera has decided that because he blew his opportunity to be in the film, the Defendants should not be allowed to release it, and the public should not be allowed to see it. Enough is enough.”
Paramount’s response added that Knoxville, Tremaine and Jonze considered Margera a “close friend” but also believed that his “life was in danger.”
“Ultimately, they decided to try to help Margera by attempting to include him in the movie on the condition that he stay sober and take steps to save his own life,” it says. “At first, Margera remained sober and in compliance. But within a few months, the wheels came off, and Margera committed multiple breaches: he stopped regularly taking his mandatory alcohol tests, he broke off communications with his treatment team, he dodged a drug test, and he used illicit drugs again.”
The filing says that the court should strike Margera’s claims that seek to enjoin the release of the film and seek a hearing on Nov. 1.
Margera’s lawyer, Dennis Ellis, called Paramount’s response a blatantly strategic move “designed to delay and deny justice by avoiding accountability for their abhorrent actions in dealing with Mr. Margera.”
“The evidence, if you can call it that, filed by Defendants actually supports the allegations of Mr. Margera’s complaint,” Ellis said in a statement. “These Defendants fired Mr. Margera for failure to adhere to a draconian wellness program administered by an unqualified individual hired by Paramount. Mr. Margera was right to finally stand-up to these Defendants, despite their power in the industry. Their firing of him in retaliation is wrong, and this will be proven at trial, no matter what they do to try to avoid that.”
Margera attested in his lawsuit from August that he was discriminated against and that producers violated his civil rights because he says he suffers from physical and mental disabilities. Specifically, Margera says he’s been diagnosed with ADD and bipolar disorder. In addition to seeking an injunction of the release of “Jackass Forever,” he wants monetary damages and millions in compensation, saying that he is a creator on the “Jackass” franchise.
“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,” Margera said in a statement from August. “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.”
The release of “Jackass Forever” was recently pushed to Feb. 4, 2022, due to COVID-19 concerns along with the releases of “Mission: Impossible 7” and “Top Gun: Maverick.”
Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.