Justin Bieber's former bodyguard is suing the singer for allegedly assaulting him and is seeking $421,261 in unpaid wages, overtime, vacation and other wage benefits.
Moshe Benabou claims in a lawsuit filed on Thursday, January 10, that the 18-year-old pop star punched him repeatedly during a confrontation that took place on October 10, after the two got into a disagreement about how Benabou handled a member of Bieber's entourage. The company BT Touring LLC, a Delaware company that employed Benabou as Bieber's bodyguard, is also named in the suit.
According to court documents obtained by OTRC.com, Benabou worked for Bieber as a personal bodyguard from March 2011 to October 10, 2012, and worked between 14 to 18 hours a day, seven days a week.
The incident took place backstage prior to a concert. Bieber allegedly "launched an abusive tirade" against Benabou because the pop star believed that Benabou was trying to keep a member of Bieber's entourage physically away from the singer. The suit states that Bieber "repeatedly punched Moshe Benabou in the chest and upper body area."
The suit goes on to state that Benabou did not retaliate or attempt to protect himself. Benabou allegedly walked away from the confrontation and Bieber reportedly fired him on the spot.
"For nearly two years Mr. Benabou devoted himself completely to ensuring Mr. Bieber's personal safety," Benabou's attorney, Ilan Heimanson, wrote in 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."
"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," Heimanson's statement added.
In addition, Benabou was allegedly told that he was a salaried employee and as such, was not entitled to overtime pay. However, the lawsuit claims that BT Touring LLC violated California's Industrial Welfare Commission Orders and Labor Code by failing to pay for Benabou's overtime and vacation pay earned during his employment.
According to Benabou's company IsraGuard Security U.S., he has 22 years of experience in the security industry and has a background as a former member of Israel Security Forces.