Would you punch Johnny Depp in the face for $100,000? “City of Lies” location manager Gregg “Rocky” Brooks had the chance after Depp allegedly punched Brooks in the ribs twice and demanded he punch Depp back in the face for $100,000. Brooks declined the offer only to later deliver what could be a much more painful blow – a ten-count lawsuit leveled at Depp and the filmmakers for intentional torts and negligence.
The lawsuit filed last week alleges Brooks, as location manager, was in charge of ensuring the film’s production team was complying with its city permit which allowed filming outside the downtown Barclay Hotel from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Toward the end of the day on April 13, 2017, the complaint alleges Depp required additional time to complete a scene and Brooks was able to obtain a new filming permit extending the time to 11:00 p.m. But once it appeared that the additional four hours would not be enough, Brooks claims the film’s director Brad Furman (also a defendant in the suit) instructed Brooks to tell Depp to wrap up.
On his way over to Depp, Brooks contends Depp attacked him and launched into an expletive-laced tirade. As Brooks tried to explain he had to ensure everyone complied with the city permit, Depp reportedly punched Brooks in the ribs twice and then exclaimed, “I will give you one hundred thousand dollars to punch me in the face right now!” Brooks declined and says Depp continued to scream until Depp’s bodyguards arrived to restrain him. Brooks also claims Depp’s breath reeked with alcohol and believes he was drinking and consuming drugs throughout the day on set.
Brooks’ action advances claims against Depp for assault and battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligence. He also seeks recovery against Furman, the film’s producer Miriam Segal, and the film’s production companies Good Film Productions and Infinitum Nihil for negligent supervision, negligent hiring, hostile work environment, negligent infliction of emotional distress, wrongful termination and retaliation. Brooks blames Furman for negligently delegating his duty to direct Depp to cease work, placing Brooks in the unenviable role of a messenger with bad news. Brooks also contends the filmmakers were on notice of Depp’s alleged volatile temper and habitual substance abuse yet retained him in conscious disregard for the safety of other employees. Brooks finally claims wrongful termination and retaliation based on the allegation that he was terminated the Monday following the alleged altercation after refusing to sign a waiver at Segal’s request releasing the production of all claims Brooks may have against it arising from the incident.
Depp has yet to issue a statement in response to the suit, but Furman has come to his defense telling CBS News “Johnny Depp is a consummate professional” and “always treats the crew and people around him with the utmost respect.” He added, “movies can be stressful, and non-events often become exaggerated.”
How “exaggerated” this incident was remains to be seen.