From one controversy, to another. This time, it’s a courtroom.
Fresh from being photographed smoking what looked to be marijuana, 18-year-old pop star Justin Bieber is facing a lawsuit for allegedly assaulting a former bodyguard.
Moshe Benabou, an ex-Israeli soldier, filed court papers in Los Angeles on Thursday, claiming Bieber berated him and struck him a number of times in the chest during an argument over a member of the singer’s entourage.
Benabou — the same bodyguard who was involved in an altercation with the paparazzi at Los Angeles International Airport — was fired as Bieber’s chief lieutenant on Oct. 10, last year.
“For nearly two years Mr. Benabou devoted himself completely to ensuring Mr. Bieber’s personal safety,” Benabou’s attorney, Ilan Heimanson, told Celebuzzin a statement.
“Mr. Benabou deserved, as does any employee, to be treated with respect, dignity and in accordance with the law. Unfortunately, he was not.”
Benabou is also suing Bieber for failing to $400,000 in back wages.
According to his complaint, Benabou said he worked seven days a week and up to 18 hours a day, but was told by his employers he wasn’t entitled to overtime as a salaried employee.
He is now seeking — all up — $421,261 that includes overtime pay, vacation time and damages.
But it’s the alleged physical incident that is the most sensational in the bodyguard’s suit.
In the documents, Benabou said the 18-year-old superstar was “egged on” by his entourage to launch an “abusive tirade” against him because the “Baby” singer had thought the guard had attempted to keep a member of his group away from him.
In retaliation, Benabou claims the teenage star “repeatedly punched” him in the chest.
As he walked away from the alleged incident, it’s claimed Bieber screamed, “You are fired!”
“Employers, be they Justin Beiber or Acme Corporation, hold an inherent position of power over their employees,” Heimanson added. “Regrettably, the nature of that relationship invites abuse.
“Labor laws were written for the express purpose of protecting employees from such abuses,” he added.
“Through this lawsuit, Mr. Benabou simply seeks to hold his prior employer to the prevailing legal standards — full, fair and timely payment of wages and an abuse free workplace.”
No changes are to be made to this player