An escapologist is suing America’s Got Talent bosses after a stunt gone wrong left him in a wheelchair for life.
Jonathan Goodwin was left with life-changing injuries after being crushed between two burning cars in October 2021 during rehearsals for America’s Got Talent: Extreme at a track in Atlanta.
The stunt crew should have seen him break free and fall under the vehicle before they collided.
But he miscalculated the timing and ended up being caught in the middle, crushed as the metal chassis came together before a huge fireball erupted.
Jonathan then fell to the ground and hit his head. He was flown to the hospital where he underwent surgery.
The stuntman came out of the accident with broken ribs, legs and shoulders, third-degree burns, injuries to internal organs, and he was left without a left kidney.
Jonathan is engaged to actress Amanda Abington, who starred in Sherlock, Mr Selfridge and Doc Martin
Jonathan and Amanda’s son Joe sat in the Strictly Come Dancing audience, cheering her on
Amanda Abington during a dress rehearsal for her appearance on Strictly Come Dancing
His lawyer, Stuart Fraenkel, told BBC: ‘This is another example of the entertainment industry putting profits and ratings ahead of safety.
“The producers and staff working on this show could have taken a few simple steps to ensure Jonathan’s safety.” Instead, the production was rushed, chaotic and composed of a team that lacked the necessary expertise and experience.
“Jonathan will be in a wheelchair for the rest of his life because there were no adequate safety practices, protocols and procedures to protect him.”
Mr Fraenkel also said Jonathan was making the claim because he wanted to draw attention to the ‘lack of security’ in the entertainment industry.
His lawyer also said the stuntman hopes ‘lessons will be learned’.
The 43-year-old, who competed on the 15th season of America’s Got Talent last year, was initially unresponsive after the accident but was found to be still clinging to life.
The US Sun published a frantic 911 video on Friday in which a woman said: “We’re on the track in Atlanta on location for America’s Got Talent.
“We had a man hanging from a cable with cars about to crash into each other and he didn’t fall in time and they crashed into him.”
Jonathan has previously performed other similar death-defying stunts on the show.
In 2013, he wore a straight jacket and dangled from a red-hot rope above the River Thames in London.
He was suspended upside down from the London Eye and managed to escape, all as part of his TV series The Incredible Mr Goodwin.
Jonathan was suspended between two raised cars. He should have fallen when they crashed together, but he caught himself in the middle
Jonathan can be seen moments before the cars hit him
The performer has also successfully completed other risky stunts in the past for flagship series AGT and has also been featured on its UK sister series, Britain’s Got Talent.
During his performance on Season 15, Cowell and fellow judges Heidi Klum, Howie Mendel and Sofia Vergara kept Jonathan in the competition until the semi-finals.
His most dramatic stunt on AGT involved Godwin covering himself in flammable liquid and handcuffs while putting his head in a box so he couldn’t see.
He had to escape from the clamps in less than 20 seconds after being set on fire.
Jonathan successfully completed the stunt, much to the annoyance of several judges, even though it was the first time he had tried to defy death.
In contrast to his fiery stunts, Jonathan went underwater for the BBC special How Not to Become Shark Bait, in which he demonstrated by allowing a Caribbean shark to attack him.
Jonathan is engaged to actress Amanda Abington, 49, who starred in Sherlock, Mr Selfridge and Doc Martin.
The couple first connected with each other 11 years ago in 2012 when they followed each other on Twitter.
While they were both in other relationships at the time, Amanda said Guardian that they ‘admired each other’s work’ and that they ‘occasionally liked each other’s tweets.’
As they both became single, their messages became increasingly flirtatious until they started dating in August 2021, a few months before the accident.
Jonathan said they had not considered returning to the UK until he met Amanda and changed his mind after a seven-hour phone conversation with the actress.
He told the agency: ‘Little did I know I had found my person before we broke up.’
Their whirlwind romance saw them get engaged the first time they met in person.
After being smashed in the midst of a fiery blast, Jonathan fell to the ground and reportedly hit his head on impact. Pictured: Jonathan in The Illusionists in 2016
Jonathan said the big event was ‘already planned’, despite the two having only been talking for a month. Amanda said the proposal felt like “the most amazing, natural thing in the world.”
The actress said that on the day of the accident, she received a phone call from her fiance which she found strange because he was “always texting”.
Amanda was told Jonathan was in “really bad shape” and had been taken to intensive care.
Jonathan told the Guardian: “I called Amanda to thank her for the time we spent together, in case I don’t see her again.”
He then said that because of his life-changing injuries, he wanted to talk to Amanda and “check her out.”
“Breaking up never crossed my mind.” I just thanked God that he was alive,’ Amanda told the agency.
The loved-up couple now live in Hertfordshire.
Amanda is on this season’s Strictly Come Dancing and is partnered with Giovanni Pernis.
She recently credited Strict Come Dancing with helping her ‘feel like a woman’ again after the 40s made her ‘invisible’.
She said the show made her sexy and gave her a huge confidence boost, which she hopes will inspire other women her age to ‘grab life with both hands’.
‘The sky is the limit. I hope to inspire women to go and do something they wouldn’t normally do,” she said.
MailOnline has contacted NBC and Fremantle Media for comment.
Strictly star Amanda Abbington’s escapologist fiancé Jonathan Goodwin sues America’s Got Talent bosses over TV stunt that went wrong and left him in a wheelchair for life