Jean-Claude Van Damme Was Sued By A Co-Star For The Craziest Reason

Jean-Claude Van Damme was suited for stabbing a stuntman in the eye during the production of Cyborg.

By Douglas Helm | Published

Jean-Claude Van Damme
Jean-Claude Van Damme in Cyborg

Jean-Claude Van Damme is known for his crazy martial arts and stunts in his movies, but that dedication can sometimes lead to mishaps. Case in point — when Van Damme was sued by a stuntman Jackson “Rock” Pinckney for stabbing him in the eye while filming a fight scene, leading the stuntman to suffer blindness and permanent damage to the injured eye, according to Associated Press News. The injury even caused Pinckney to be discharged from his position in the US army.

The incident happened on the set of 1989’s Cyborg, which saw Jean-Claude Van Damme as a cybernetically enhanced protagonist fighting his way through a cyberpunk world. While filming, Pinckney was supposed to charge Van Damme’s character with a fake knife, which Van Damme would kick out of his hand before slashing his throat. While Van Damme and his legal team maintained that the stabbing was an accident, Pinckney and his team alleged the actions were “willful.”

Pinckney sued Jean-Claude Van Damme for over $10,000 in damages. He would end up getting much more as the courts ruled in his favor and awarded him $487,000 in damages. Van Damme’s undoing was the testimonials of other stuntmen in the film.

According to testimony from the other stuntmen, Jean-Claude Van Damme didn’t pull his punches and went to great lengths to make the fight choreography look as authentic as possible — despite warnings to back off and avoid unplanned contact. Van Damme’s team tried to appeal the decision and even tried to get the case thrown out because a juror visited a karate school to discuss the case with an instructor. The defense’s attempts to overturn the verdict or throw it out failed and the courts decided to uphold the decision.

jean-claude van damme

Cyborg was actually very early in Jean-Claude Van Damme’s career, with his first leading role in Bloodsport only coming out a year earlier. While the lawsuit might have taken up some of Van Damme’s time (and money), it certainly didn’t slow down his career. He would go on to star in plenty of big action films like Universal Soldier, Last Action Hero, Timecop, Double Impact, and many more.

While Jean-Claude Van Damme isn’t quite the mega-action star he used to be, he’s still staying pretty busy in Hollywood. In 2022, he had a role in the animated film Minions: Rise of Gru, which is a little different from his Bloodsport days. Additionally, Van Damme has a few projects lined up for the near future, including Darkness of Man, Silent Kill, and What’s My Name.

While none of Jean-Claude Van Damme’s upcoming movies have release dates, it seems like Darkness of Man is the furthest along in the production pipeline. The film will star Van Damme as Interpol operative Russell Hatch, who has to protect the son of a dead informant from a group of dangerous gangs. The film is written and directed by James Cullen Bressack.

What’s My Name is perhaps the most interesting project, as Jean-Claude Van Damme will be playing a fictionalized version of himself. In it, he wakes up from a coma not knowing who he is and faces off against opponents from his past. Hopefully, there are no accidental stabbings while any of these films are made.