« NICK COLEMAN Saga Continues | Main | Carmichael Numbers... Mathematicians v. Engineers »

January 05, 2005

NBC's 'Fear Factor' Sued for Rat-Eating Episode...

Well it’s about time this happened!  I have been wondering how long it would take before reading about some poor traumatized soul came forth and sued Fear Factor for duress.  But this one caught me completely off guard!  And it should not have.

In the review of the Apollo 1 fire that killed Astronauts Gus Grissom, Roger Chaffee, and Ed White, it was stated that one of the underlying failures contributing to the accident, was “Failure of the Imagination.”  No one ever thought that in a high pressure oxygen environment test on the launch pad at Kennedy Space Flight Center, something would go terribly wrong and kill 3 of America’s finest aviators.

Well, I just suffered a failure of my imagination.  When I first read this Reuters headline, NBC's 'Fear Factor' Sued for Rat-Eating Episode, I thought, “Duh! Some dumbass contestant didn’t read the fine print in the liability release they no doubt have to sign in sextuplet!”  Boy was I wrong!  And when you read the following, I’m sure you’ll think the very same thing…

NBC's 'Fear Factor' Sued for Rat-Eating Episode

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Watching contestants eat dead rats on NBC's gross-out stunt show "Fear Factor" so disgusted a Cleveland man that he has sued NBC for $2.5 million, saying he could not stomach what he saw.

In a handwritten four-page lawsuit filed in federal court in Cleveland on Tuesday, paralegal Austin Aitken said, "To have the individuals on the show eat (yes) and drink dead rats was crazy and from a viewer's point of view made me throw-up as well an another (sic sic) in the house at the same time."

His suit added, "NBC is sending the wrong message to its TV watchers that cash can make or have people do just about anything beyond reasoning (sic) and in most cases against their will."

He said the show caused his blood pressure to rise so high that he became dizzy and light-headed, and when he ran away to his room, he bumped his head into the doorway.

In a brief telephone interview with Reuters, Aitken said, "I am not at liberty to discuss the complaint unless it is a paid-interview situation."

A spokesman for "Fear Factor" said the show would have no comment until it sees a copy of the complaint. The spokesman said the program did feature an rat-eating scene in New York's Times Square on Nov. 8.

Over the years, contestants on the program have eaten some weird things, including ground-up spiders and live worms.

Reuters/VNU

Everyday I lose just that much more faith in the competency of the American psyche.  PLEASE! Judge, whoever you are, throw this so far out of court that it can sustain its own orbit around the earth.  This type of contrived “Victimization” is bringing all of us down, and the fact that a complaint like this might even begin to see the florescent light of a courtroom is, in its own right, contemptuous.

Fear Factor isn’t Austin’s problem, the list of what apparently is… is so amazingly long, Steven Hawkins would have trouble contemplating it.  But high on that list would have to be that he’s watching too much Jerry Springer!

Fear Factor is no worse than any survival school attended by US military personnel to condition them for the brutal reality of living off the land with what is available.  And our armed forces do not get paid an additional $50,000 dollars for completing this training.  I’ll admit to watching an episode or two and even being somewhat amazed at what the producers could come up with to titillate and yes disgust the viewer, not to mention the participant.

But this complaint is so ludicrous and flagrantly frivolous it tends toward surreal.  Look at the major points of the complaint (my comments alpha-noted):

1.       To have the individuals on the show eat (yes) and drink dead rats was crazy and from a viewer's point of view made me throw-up as well an another in the house at the same time.

a.       Change the Damn Channel!

b.       It’s what this show is all about!

c.       Not “Crazy”… Disgusting? maybe… Delicacy!...in many parts of the world.

d.       To justify this complaint would be to justify a member of PETA filing a similar complaint after having watched a McDonalds commercial!  Hell I might even have some empathy for the PETA member (not much mind you!)

2.       NBC is sending the wrong message to its TV watchers that cash can make or have people do just about anything beyond reasoning (sic) and in most cases against their will.

a.       If they’re doing it for money it is certainly not “Against their will.”

b.       NBC sending the message…Cash can make or have people do just about anything beyond reasoning.  Wow accuracy in the media finally!

c.       “Against their will?”—in every episode I have viewed it is clear to me, and I assume the contestants that they can opt out of any “event” by simply saying “Nope, not gunna do it.”

3.       …the show caused his blood pressure to rise so high that he became dizzy and light-headed, and when he ran away to his room, he bumped his head into the doorway

a.       God please don’t ever watch “Girls Gone Wild!” if this is your response to rat eating!

b.       So if you ran to your room… do we even want to know where you “Threw-up?”

c.       Bumped your head huh?  No Dain Brammage suffered obviously! Klutz!

4.       “I am not at liberty to discuss the complaint unless it is a paid-interview situation.”

a.       Well that says it all, now doesn’t it!

The smartest statement made in this article came from the spokesman for Fear Factor, “No Comment.”

The scariest statement made in this article is, “In a handwritten four-page lawsuit filed in federal court in Cleveland on Tuesday, paralegal Austin Aitken said…”

The American Legal Education System at its finest!

January 5, 2005 in Idiots on Parade, Law, Television | Permalink

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d8341c58ed53ef00d8346ec27869e2

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference NBC's 'Fear Factor' Sued for Rat-Eating Episode...:

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

What has become of Fear Factor contestants who ate and licked contaminated things? How are they doing today?

Posted by: gseattle | Aug 21, 2013 4:46:48 PM

If you dont like what's on tv turn the channel
I think some people are sue happy.

Posted by: Janice p | Mar 11, 2012 10:20:23 AM

an other great example of what the hell is wrong with the system.....some person too lazy to work figures he is owed something for not being smart enough to change the channel. in comes the paralegal, what a piece of work this guy is! not even a real lawyer....i got some advice for you friend, get a real job and stop trying to jack the system because you can't figure out how to earn a real living! it's stuff like this that makes people around the world laugh and shake their heads thinking man those americans!

Posted by: online backgammon | Apr 5, 2006 6:24:31 AM

As the Supreme Being, I say this dunce should be fined $10,000 dollars, and of course, the lawsuit should be dismissed as frivolous.

Posted by: Amber R | Mar 12, 2006 9:37:45 AM

I also agree that it is absolutely disgusting what Fear Factor does.

Posted by: Susan R | Jan 23, 2006 2:36:21 AM

Thanks Nate for the compliment. It is always nice to have a fan.

It had been awhile since I read my position on this, and it was nice to be reminded of it. My opinion remains steadfast!

Good luck on the paper.

-JC

Posted by: John C | Jun 22, 2005 11:36:14 PM

Let me start off by saying your critique of his lawsuit was incredibly hilarious. I was actually writing a paper about Fear Factor for a college writing course when I stumpled across the lawsuit, and found it incredibly absurd. Perhaps, this man should sue his mother for dropping him on his head as an infant, or the doctor for not unwrapping the umbilical cord from around his neck in time to prevent his brain damage.

Posted by: Nate S | Jun 22, 2005 10:10:40 PM

While I agree that the person is acting in a way that is stupid and pretty much pointless (as far as suing), I agree that it is absolutely disgusting what Fear Factor does.

I'm a proud owner of two adorable, loving pet rats. For me to hear of such a horrid 'stunt' like this being pulled off is downright unacceptable. Where do you draw the line? For you cat owners out there, would you like to see a frozen dead cat blended up and eaten? Same goes for rabbits, or any other domesticated lovable pets. It's a stretch, I know, but that's how it is for me and all the other rat owners out there.

Mike R.,
Not only are the actions of the plaintiff humorous and make people around the world shake their heads at us, it's the reality shows we have today - crap like this on TV.

I agree with some comments; I sure will never watch this show again.

Posted by: shawn | Jan 25, 2005 11:44:27 PM

I love the write up on the Fear Factor lawsuit. this guy has got to be nutts if he thinks he will win this lawsuit"oops did I say nutts I might get sued for my quarter and my underwear" you never know who might try to sue me for that. I think that he is just out to get his 15 mins. of fame but he actually made his self look like a complete dummy and he will be remembered as the dumb ass that didn't know how to change the channel.

Posted by: Kandi | Jan 19, 2005 6:49:46 PM

This law suit is presented by an impudent, insolent, ignorant individual whom is without a doubt, a dumb-ass. This is not an opinion, this is a factual statement based on his puerile comments stated in the lawsuit. As the Supreme Being, I say this dunce should be fined $10,000 dollars, and of course, the lawsuit should be dismissed as frivolous. The $10,000 dollars collected should then go to innocent children in need of healthcare. All in favor say AYE!

Posted by: Supreme Being | Jan 7, 2005 12:39:51 PM

At what point in our county's history did it become hip to be litigious? It seems that we have all fallen into a well of hyper-sensativity where every infraction leads to a sense of entitlement. I want to scream at the top of my lungs "GET OVER IT". It's not "the land of the free and never to be offened..." I hate the stupid.

Posted by: Korine | Jan 7, 2005 12:32:14 PM

> Judge, whoever you are, throw this so far
> out of court that it can sustain its own
> orbit around the earth.

Good line!

Posted by: BrianS | Jan 7, 2005 11:48:16 AM

Very good write-up about this subject.

Posted by: russ | Jan 7, 2005 11:27:19 AM

its people like this guy that give me cause to throw up and run into doors.To sue just to make a point.Grow up!
Don't like the show,well than lets just sue,sue,sue

Posted by: dan | Jan 7, 2005 11:23:13 AM

If you dont like whats on TV TURN THE CHANNEL

Posted by: Cynthia | Jan 7, 2005 11:22:19 AM

This guy is likely a friend of Karl Rove enlisted to help with Bush Tort Reform.

Posted by: Jim C | Jan 7, 2005 8:44:10 AM

Maybe its Zenith's fault - the universal remote stopped functioning? Or Duracell - the batteries lost their charge just in time to cause a remote control failure? Or Lazy Boy - the naugahide recliner was too comfy to get up and change the channel or didn't have a remote control pocket? Or MAYBE it's his parents fault for not dropping him on his head enough times to cause stupidity BEYOND ability to realize victimization. . .
I think I'll sue my parents for not causeing ENOUGH head injuries to allow ME to be a lifelong victim. . .
ANY judge that allows this to be heard in his courtroom is as guilty of fivolity as is the plantiff.

Posted by: SEHaworth | Jan 7, 2005 6:58:49 AM

Austin, take your lawsuit and shove it where the sun don't shine. I can't believe you have nothing better to do with your time than to file frivolous lawsuits such as the one you just filed. Kiss my behind you stupd sob.

Posted by: Jennifer L | Jan 7, 2005 4:04:35 AM

This Austin Aitken is a moron, and for anyone within this judicial system of ours to even entertain his lawsuit, they too should join the millions of other morons out there. I have watched very briefly Fear Factor, and am constantly amazed at what they require contestants to perform, or eat to win the ultimate prize. If I find it too disgusting, I simply change the channel.

Posted by: Mike R | Jan 7, 2005 3:21:06 AM

an other great example of what the hell is wrong with the system.....some person too lazy to work figures he is owed something for not being smart enough to change the channel. in comes the paralegal, what a piece of work this guy is! not even a real lawyer....i got some advice for you friend, get a real job and stop trying to jack the system because you can't figure out how to earn a real living! it's stuff like this that makes people around the world laugh and shake their heads thinking man those americans!

Posted by: steven | Jan 7, 2005 1:07:56 AM

Post a comment