Johnny Depp sued by former bodyguards

Los Angeles: Hollywood star Johnny Depp’s two former bodyguards are taking him to court for unpaid wages and for forcing them to work in dangerous conditions.

Eugene Arreola, a retired police detective, and Miguel Sanchez first started protecting Depp, 54, in 2013 when they were employed by a security corporation, according to a complaint they filed here on Tuesday, reports people.com.

They have claimed the dangerous conditions included exposure to “illegal substances” and loaded weapons and that they were made to work as de facto babysitters for Depp’s minor child and were also “forced to protect (Depp) from himself”.

In 2016, the duo say they were hired as part of Depp’s personal in-house security team. Around that time, they “began to notice a stark change in Depp and the atmosphere on his Hollywood Hills compound”, according to the complaint.

“Depp began making sudden and drastic changes to his staff and management team, causing a significant financial crunch for everyone surrounding Depp, except for Depp himself,” the complaint read.

Arreola and Sanchez have said in the note that they accepted the in-house detail because they “were loyal to Depp and his family and understanding of the financial hurricane Depp was in”.

Depp is currently embroiled in a $25 million lawsuit with his former business managers, whom he claims mismanaged the $650 million he has made in the last two decades to the point of depletion. His former managers claim the actor’s allegedly extravagant spending is to blame for his financial woes.

Once Arreola and Sanchez started working for Depp directly, they say they noticed their paychecks were missing “overtime and rest pay”. They also claim that from 2016 to 2018, they did not receive overtime pay or “meal and rest breaks as mandated by law” and were “misclassified as independent contractors when they were clearly hired as employees”, people.com reports.

They complained they were “constantly used as drivers, driving back and forth at Depp’s or his family’s beckoning” and were “asked repeatedly to drive vehicles that contained illegal substances” and “open containers” and “were asked to monitor unstable individuals in (Depp’s) life and entourage”.