Published March 10, 2005
| Associated Press
CLEVELAND – A judge threw out a lawsuit in which a viewer sued NBC for $2.5 million, contending that he threw up because of a "Fear Factor" (search) episode in which contestants ate rats mixed in a blender.
U.S. District Judge Lesley Wells called Austin Aitken (search)'s lawsuit frivolous and warned him against appealing.
"Evidently, fear was a factor for him," Matt Kunitz, the show's executive producer, said on Wednesday. "We knew that justice would prevail and we're pleased with the outcome."
A message left seeking comment from Aitken was not immediately returned.
Aitken, a 49-year-old part-time paralegal from Cleveland, previously told The Associated Press that he watched "Fear Factor" often and had no problem with past installments where the reality show's participants ate worms and insects in pursuit of a $50,000 prize — but eating rats went "too far."
He said he sued to send a message to NBC and other networks about their programming.
Aitken's handwritten lawsuit contended the rat-eating made his blood pressure rise, resulting in being dizzy and lightheaded — and vomiting. Because he was disoriented he ran into a doorway, "causing suffering, injury and great pain."