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Viewer sues NBC over 'Fear Factor' rat-eating episode

January 06, 2005

CLEVELAND (AP) - A viewer is suing NBC for $2.5 million, contending that he threw up because of a "Fear Factor" episode in which contestants ate rats mixed in a blender.

Austin Aitken told The Associated Press he watches "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."

"It's barbaric, some of the things they ask these individuals to do," Aitken said Thursday.

Aitken's handwritten lawsuit contends 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."

Asked why he didn't shut off his television before the rat-eating 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."

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Aitken, a 49-year-old part-time paralegal, 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.

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On the Net:

www.nbc.com

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