The upcoming new installment in the venerable Jackass franchise has come up against yet another obstacle, as a lawsuit filed by Bam Margera has been allowed to proceed, per The Hollywood Reporter. Jackass Forever, the fourth film thus far to star Bam Margera, Johnny Knoxville, Steve-O and assorted others, was originally due to be released this year before running into numerous delays. In particular, Margera (who has publicly discussed his long struggle with substance abuse and mental health) was fired due to an allegedly coerced contract that stipulated he submit to frequent drug tests, breathalyzers and monitored daily medication. Since then, he has called for boycotts on the film and sued to keep the film from being released.
Bam Margera was apparently fired from Jackass Forever by Knoxville and producer and filmmaker Spike Jonze; the ousted skateboarder and TV personality announced it in February of this year, per Screenrant. Around then, he also exhibited troubling behavior, allegedly admitted to further substance use and had his Bentley stolen and crashed in the Los Angeles area. So all in all, not a good year for Bam Margera. His lawsuit specifically alleges that the agreement he made to star in Jackass Forever was made under duress, as he agreed while in a rehab clinic and believed it was the only way he could continue to work with Jackass. He also claimed to be given prescription medication against his will, but was then terminated for having Adderall in his system, a medication he had actually been prescribed. The lawsuit in full claims that his contract and rights have thus been violated, and he should be allowed to prevent the film from being released.
Knoxville and the producers of Jackass Forever responded to Bam Margera’s lawsuit with a motion to strike the claims under an anti-SLAPP statute. That particular Californian statute essentially seeks to dismiss frivolous lawsuits that might conflict with free speech under the First Amendment, ie, the theatrical release of a long-delayed movie like Jackass Forever. At the moment, at least L.A. Superior Court Judge Robert S. Draper has found that Margera’s lawsuit fulfilled the necessary merits to legally proceed further, stating that his contract with Paramount Pictures may be void if he did actually “[sign] the Wellness Agreement under duress while in rehab, approached with a take-it-or-leave-it proposition.”
If eventually released, Jackass Forever would be the most recent extension of the original show’s three-season run as an MTV series which ended when star Johnny Knoxville quit under alleged increasing pressure from network censors. After several attempts at starring in more mainstream films, Knoxville returned to the franchise, along with Bam Margera and numerous cast ready for the intense stunts. The show was controversial from its very beginning, briefly creating a culture war around its unhinged stunts, apparent physical danger and extremely early 2000s Xtreme attitude. Despite (or perhaps because of) frequent on-screen disclaimers and warnings for viewers not to imitate the actions and behavior of the stars, it was accused numerous times of inspiring copycats. As of now, the fate of Jackass Forever is up in the air.