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Wonders of the Law

Ben Stein Sues: “Ad Agency Replaced Me Over My Global-Warming Position”

I found this over at The Wrap and Japan Real Time 🙂

Instead of winning Ben Stein’s money, Stein is seeking to win Kyocera’s in a touchy lawsuit.

The conservative pundit and actor — and former Nixon speechwriter — claims that his position on climate change had him kicked off a $300,000 acting gig scheduled to start in 2010, only to be replaced by a lookalike.

Stein filed a discrimination suit against Japanese company Kyocera Corporation and New York ad agency Seiter & Miller Advertising, in Los Angeles Superior Court on Wednesday.

He is alleging breach of contract, wrongful discharge and emotional distress, among other charges.

In the suit, Stein says Kyocera reneged on the deal and replaced him after the company found out that he isn’t sure humans are responsible for climate change.

The deal would have had Stein — who has previously been featured in advertisements for Comcast, Clear Eyes and Hewlett-Packard — acting in commercials for Kyocera and appearing at a major company event.

Apparently, when he was asked about his position on Global Warming, Stein told Kyocera and Seiter & Miller that he was extremely concerned about the environment but unsure whether humans are responsible for global warming.

“He also told Hurwitz to inform defendants that, as a matter of religious belief, he believed that God, and not man, controlled the weather,” the suit claims.

Kyocera then tapped well-known economics professor Peter Morici – a bow tie enthusiast with an uncanny resemblance in appearance and mannerism to the actor –  to appear in the commercials. Stein claimed hat they were basing the character of an “economics professor” on his image. According to the suit, Stein has been described as “the most famous economics teacher in the world” for his iconic role in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.”

“In an astonishingly brazen misappropriation of [Stein’s] persona, [they] dressed him up as Stein often appeared in commercials (bow tie, glasses, sports jacket).”

It seems that Stein is claiming a brand logo kind of situation for the image… as if he owned it.

Stein is seeking $300,000 for the work he agreed to do, along with attorney fees, court costs and punitive damages.

I don’t know what Morici will seek from Stein.

Let’s hear it for Ben Stein…

Ben Stein speaking at 2006 National Summit on ...

Ben Stein

I was surprised this morning to hear Ben Stein on CBS Sunday Morning, who I know is a conservative and who has talked about the need for budget cuts before, speak this morning on the ratio of the Deficit to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Surprised because:

  1. he had good things to say about Bill Clinton and his Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin who left office giving us a surplus… and
  2.  he stated that the Republicans would have to agree to raising taxes…especially on the Rich Americans who, he said, there are plenty of and they CAN afford it.

I’m even more surprised because, just before the 2010 elections, he did a Sunday Morning piece complaining that, as a rich guy, he was paying too much in taxes and didn’t want taxes on the rich raised. Something has changed his mind… which means other conservatives can change their minds as well. Whether this applies to Tea Party types is your guess.

Now, he did also say that the Democrats were going to have to agree to budget cuts, but they should be able to look at the military and some of the other areas we are not looking at now (I assume he was talking about oil subsidies and their related entities.)

You know, I felt pretty good about Ben Stein this morning… I usually haven’t felt good about him since he stopped doing a comedy quiz show with Jimmy Kimmel. But this morning I’ll give him the benefit of my appreciation for his ilttle editorial… and I hope some of these politicians heard it.