Two things to make clear right from the start: One, it is not the job of the media to judge someone, celebrity or not for any possible psychological problems they may be facing. Two, someone’s personal struggles are not an excuse for illegal and/or dangerous behaviors. We say this because the latest news about “Jackass” star Bam Margera is disturbing and saddening in how it both reflects a years long struggle with substance abuse and how it has gone from merely self-destructive, to outwardly dangerous.
On June 3rd, news began circulating that former professional skateboarder, stuntman, and reality TV star Bam Margera was sending death threats to longtime “Jackass” director and co-creator, Jeff Tremaine and his family. While the threats were sent in private texts, they became a mater of public record as they were the evidence used to get a restraining order against Margera on May 25th.
Bam rose to fame in the mid to late 90s as a professional skateboarder. His success and popularity found him as a playable character in the “Tony Hawk’s Pro-Skater” video game series starting with the third entry. He also broke into television with being one of the main stars of the hit MTV show “Jackass” and the subsequent films. All of this led to him having his own reality series, “Viva La Bam,” that ran from 2003-2005.
When production for “Jackass 4” was confirmed near the end of 2019, there was hope for bringing the full surviving cast back. Apparently there were some issues surrounding Bam though, largely based off of his struggles with alcohol and drugs. His substance abuse has long been documented in the media, including reports of a days-long alcohol binge that hospitalized him back in 2009. Based on subsequent reports, and a Dr. Phil appearance from 2019, it would appear that Bam’s struggles with addiction were never really under control. Or if they were, it wasn’t for very long periods of time.
A number of conditions were presented to Bam in order for him to appear in the latest “Jackass” installment. Among these were a commitment to sobriety along with regular drug tests and visits to a psychiatrist. These stipulations were not met, and in February of 2021, it was reported that Bam was fired from the film. As a result, Bam started launching into a number of since deleted social media posts, calling out the cast and crew, and asking for fans to boycott the movie.
Presumably, this ties into the death threats that Margera allegedly sent to Jeff Tremaine. With no longer being a part of the film and possibly being resentful of the push that Tremaine and Bam’s “Jackass” co-stars gave him towards sobering up, Bam has allegedly continued to lash out since then. Going from advocating a boycott to threatening a person and their family is a frightening spiral to witness unfolding, not just for the ones being threatened, but for Bam himself.
Franchise frontman Johnny Knoxville recently commented on the situation to USA Today:
“We want Bam to be happy and healthy and get the help he needs. We tried to push that along. I think that’s all I really want to say about it. I don’t want to get into public back-and-forth with Bam. I just want him to get better.”
Here’s hoping that Bam Margera isn’t so fully enveloped in his own darkness that he can’t pull himself out of it and not cause harm to others. Additionally, we hope that Tremaine and his family are able to find peace of mind and safety in what must be a terribly frightening time.
“Jackass 4” has a current release date of October 22nd, 2021. No word on if that’ll get shifted yet.