CLEVELAND – Apparently nausea was a factor for a "Fear Factor" (search) viewer who is suing NBC for $2.5 million, contending an episode in which contestants eat rats made him vomit.
Austin Aitken (search) said he watches "Fear Factor" often and had no problem with past episodes in which the reality show's contestants ate things like worms and insects in pursuit of a $50,000 prize.
But the Cleveland man said showing people eating rats mixed in a blender was degrading to the contestants and the viewers.
"These networks are going too far. Period," Aitken said Thursday. "They need to check themselves, clean up their own acts. It's barbaric, some of the things they ask these individuals to do."
Aitken's handwritten lawsuit contends the rat-eating made his blood pressure rise, making him dizzy and lightheaded.
"I didn't see the doorway on route to my room," his lawsuit reads. "I ran into it causing suffering, injury and great pain."
Asked why he didn't shut off his television before the rat-eating (search) segment, Aitken said he couldn't do it quick enough.
NBC responded with a brief statement: "We believe that the claim is completely without merit."
Aitken, 49, said he wants to send a message to NBC and other networks with the lawsuit. He said he isn't concerned with winning a cash judgment in court.
"I just put any figure. You really think I expect to get 2.5 million?" he said.
Court records show Aitken, who works as a paralegal, filed two lawsuits against tobacco companies in the late 1990s. Both were dismissed.