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.
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.