Jackass Forever, aka Jackass 4, is scheduled for release on October 22nd, and based on the first trailer, it should be a really great film for Jackass fans, and a fun night at the movies for anyone who likes to play guessing games (like, guess how many femurs got broken during filming, or guess how much it cost to insure a 50-year-old Johnny Knoxville). Almost everyone from the original group is back, with two notable absences. First, Ryan Dunn, who died in a car accident in 2011, just eight months after the release of Jackass 3D. Second, 41-year-old Bam Margera, who is very much alive. But during production on Jackass Forever, Bam went from active participant to getting fired for allegedly breaking a “wellness agreement.” Bam thinks he was done dirty by his Jackass crew and Paramount Pictures, and now he’s suing them all.
Production on Jackass Forever had been in development since at least 2018. In 2019, Bam gained what was maybe the most negative attention of his career, which is saying something, since his mother April Margera has been screaming at him to cut it out for two decades now. Bam was ejected from a flight due to being drunk. He had been vocal on social media, dragging his mother, as well as his wife Nikki Margera, and with some help/exploitation from Dr. Phil, Bam allegedly checked into rehab for the fifth time to deal with his alcohol issues (his previous rehab stay, in January 2019, was reportedly ten days long). Then, after getting arrested for being drunk and disorderly at a hotel, it was revealed that Bam never made it to rehab after all.
Bam’s fellow Jackass cast member Steve-O has notably worked through his issues in rehab, and he’s been drug-free for over a decade now, thus proving it is possible to choose to get electrocuted in the nuts while sober. Jackass producers and Paramount Pictures wanted a promise from Bam that he could stay sober, so Johnny Knoxville, producer Spike Jonze, and director Jeff Tremaine allegedly made Bam sign a wellness agreement. According to Bam’s lawsuit, he implies that he was blindsided by the agreement, and pressured into signing it without having a lawyer take a look at it first. via TMZ:
He claims the 3 men pressured him into signing a “wellness agreement” while he was in rehab in 2019 in order to participate in the upcoming Jackass Forever movie, but Bam claims he didn’t have a chance to run it by an attorney.
According to Bam, the agreement subjected him to regular drug and alcohol tests and he was forced to take a cocktail of prescription drugs that left him depressed and drained, and restricted his ability to travel, work and live his life.
The lawsuit also claims that Bam was made to FaceTime with a doctor every morning before shooting began. Bam did show up for filming, and even gave a social media play-by-play on Johnny Knoxville and Steve-O’s first big injury on set four days into filming. But then a few months later, Bam vanished and was gone. In February of this year, it was reported that Bam had been fired because he broke his contract. Essentially, he wasn’t able to stay sober. In April, he spoke about the situation on Instagram, saying that Johnny, Spike, and Jeff “tortured” him by putting him on tons of prescription pills that made him feel like shit. In June, Jeff Tremaine was awarded a permanent restraining order against Bam, after Bam allegedly made death threats to Jeff and his children.
And now Bam is suing Johnny, Spike, Jeff, Paramount Pictures, MTV, Dickhouse Entertainment, and Gorilla Flicks. Bam claims in his lawsuit that what ultimately got him fired was testing positive for Adderall. One of the conditions of his wellness agreement was regular drug testing, and when the Adderall popped up, he was sent packing. But, according to Bam, the Adderall was something prescribed to him by his own doctor:
Bam got the axe for testing positive for Adderall – something he says he’s been prescribed to take for 10 years. The lawsuit alleges Bam’s treatment at the hands of Paramount and the Jackass team was “inhumane” and “discriminatory.” He also likens it to Britney Spears’ conservatorship case.
Deadline says that Bam is seeking “millions” in damages, and is seeking an injunction to block the release of the film. He also released this statement regarding his lawsuit:
“I am pissed-off, angry, hurt, and shattered that Johnny, Jeff, Spike 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.”
Bam claims he created the Jackass franchise, which…isn’t completely accurate. Bam and his friends began filming skateboarding and prank videos under the name CKY, and was approached by Jeff Tremaine, who had assembled a team at Big Brother magazine to do much of the same (Jeff also picked up aspiring actor/stuntman Johnny Knoxville and Florida flea market clown Steve-O). After everyone was brought together, the TV series Jackass premiered on MTV in 2000.
This will all get worked out in a court of law, but I want to go back to the part where Bam was forced to FaceTime with a doctor, to assess whether he was ok enough to film. That doctor should have greeted Bam, then requested all participating Jackasses to gather around, before informing them that “First, do no harm” applies to professional approval too, and that the medical community is well aware of how much relentless harm is done while filming a Jackass movie.